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Downward child support modification where the magistrate denied me to testify via telephone. Reside out of state.

Q: In family court for the last 10 yrs. I have arrearages and my paycheck is garnished bi-weekly to cover arrears and current child support. The custodial parent filed a petition to have me incarcerated because they want the arrears paid. The magistrate determined jail for 6 months or pay a certain amount. This was to go before the family court judge. I have testified via telephone the last 10 years as I live out of state. I was given a court appointed attorney who did not say I needed to be present. She thought i was testifying by telephone . So the judge was upset that I was not present & issued a bench warrant. In the meantime, two of my three children turned 21 years old and I filed a petition to recalculate support. I asked if I can testify via telephone, as I always have over the course of the last 10 yrs and this time she denied my request. 1st time ever. Is this because of my bench warrant? How can I have the two children who are now of age removed from my obligation of child support if I cannot personally appear & she denied my request for telephone testimony? What about my rights? I am not just asking for a modification for the heck of it, the kids are of age. What can I do?

A: David's Answer: It's certainly possible the Magistrate denied the phone appearance because of the bench warrant. That said, any final decision is appeal able, so you're best advised to take an appeal. Schedule a consult with a Westchester Child Support attorney for a full assessment. - David Bliven, Westchester Child Support Attorney, (www.Blivenlaw.net)

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