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§ 917. Support; when to be apportioned among different relatives. If it appear that any such relative is unable to wholly maintain the poor person or to pay for his maintenance if confined in a state institution for the insane, but is able to contribute toward his support, the court or a judge thereof may direct two or more relatives, of different degrees, to maintain him or to pay for his maintenance in such an institution if insane, prescribing the proportion which each must contribute for that purpose; and if it appear that the relatives are not of sufficient ability wholly to maintain him, or to pay for his maintenance in such an institution, if insane, but are able to contribute something, the court or a judge thereof must direct the sum, in proportion to their ability, which they shall pay weekly for that purpose. If it appears that the relatives who are liable for the maintenance of an insane poor person confined in a state institution for the insane are not able to pay the whole amount due for such maintenance from the time of such poor person's admission to such institution, the court or a judge thereof must direct the sum to be paid for such mainte nance in proportion to the ability of the relatives liable therefor. (As amended by chapter 399 of the Laws of 1898.)
Two out of five children may be ordered to support an indigent parent, and those two in unequal amounts. Court of Appeals, February 20, 1872, Stone v. Burgess, 2 Lans. 439.
The liability of the children charged by the order is several, and either is liable on default, in an action to recover the payment required of him by the order. Id.
Where the poor are a charge upon the county, the action to enforce such support is properly brought by the superintendent of the poor. Id. See Supreme Court, June 23, 1888, Herendeen v. DeWitt, 17 St. Rep. 298; 1 N. Y. Supp. 469; 49 Hun, 55.
§ 918. Order to prescribe time during which support is to continue, or may be indefinite; when and how order may be varied. The order may specify the time during which the relatives must maintain the poor person, or during which any of the sums directed by the court or a judge thereof are to be paid, or it may be indefinite or until the further order of the court or a judge thereof. If the order be for payment of a weekly sum for the maintenance of an insane poor person in a state institution, the order shall specify that such sum shall be paid as long as such insane poor person is maintained in such institution. The
court or a judge thereof may from time to time vary the order, as circumstances may require, on the application either of any relative affected by it, or of an officer on whose application the order was made, upon ten days' written notice. (As amended by chapter 399 of the Laws of 1898.)
So long as an order, made by a court of sessions, directing the relative of a poor person to pay a specified sum periodically to the superintendent of the poor for the support of such poor person, remains unchanged, such relative is liable to pay the sum therein prescribed. If he or she desires to be relieved therefrom application to amend the order should be made. If the person directed by an order of the Court of Sessions to pay a certain sum of money per week, payable monthly to a superintendent of the poor, to be applied exclusively to the support of her daughter, desires to relieve herself from the effect thereof, she should apply to the Court of Sessions under the provisions of this section for its modification, but so long as the order remains unchanged such person is, by force of the statute, liable to pay the sum therein prescribed. Supreme Court, October, 1892, Aldridge v. Walker, 73 Hun, 281; 57 St. Rep. 273; 26 N. Y. Supp. 296.
Such an order is not void because it gives no option to such person either to support her daughter or to pay the amount provided, and if it is irregular or improper the remedy is by appeal, and the question of its irregularity or impropriety cannot be properly raised in an action brought to collect the amount directed to be paid by such person and unpaid by her. Id.
While the determination provided for by this title is denominated an order, it was a final determination of the matter, and in effect a judgment. Id. See Supreme Court, April 13, 1892, Matter of Weaver v. Benjamin, 45 St. Rep. 97; 18 N. Y. Supp. 631; Supreme Court, June 23, 1888, Herendeen v. DeWitt, 17 St. Rep. 298; 49 Hun, 55; 1 N. Y. Supp. 469.
§ 919. Costs, by whom to be paid, and how enforced. The cost and expenses of the application must be ascertained by the court, and paid by the relatives against whom the order is made; and the payment thereof, and obedience to the order of maintenance, and to any order for the payment of money, may be enforced by attachment.
§ 920. Action on the order on failure to comply therewith. If a relative, required by an order of the court or a judge thereof, to relieve or maintain a poor person, neglect to do so in the manner approved by the officers mentioned in section nine hundred and fourteen, and neglect to pay to them weekly the sum prescribed by the court or a judge thereof, the officers may maintain an action against the relative, and recover therein the sum prescribed by the court or a judge thereof for every week the order
has been disobeyed, to the time of the recovery, with costs, for the use of the poor. If the order directs a relative to pay for the maintenance of an insane poor person in a state institution, and such relative refuses or neglects to pay the amount specified therein, an action may be brought by the treasurer of such institution in its corporate name to recover the amount due to such institution by virtue of such order. (As amended by chapter 399 of the Laws of 1898.)
The relative may provide for the support of the pauper at such place, and in such manner, as he shall deem proper, provided the place and manner are approved by the proper officers. Supreme Court, June, 1873, Duel v. Lamb, 1 T. & C. 66. It is not until he has elected or refused to do this, that he is liable for the sum directed to be paid. Id.
The court of sessions has no authority to prescribe the place or manner of support. Id. Whatever power there is over that support is vested in the overseers or superintendents of the poor. Id.; Supreme Court, January, 1854, Converse v. McArthur, 17 Barb. 410.
If the pauper, of his own accord, leaves the supporting party who is ready and willing to take him back and support him upon the terms of the order, the duty of the supporting party is fully discharged. Supreme Court, June, 1873, Duel v. Lamb, 1 T. & C. 69; Supreme Court, January, 1854, Converse v. McArthur, 17 Barb. 410.
See Supreme Court, June 23, 1888, Herendeen v. DeWitt, 17 St. Rep. 298; 49 Hun, 55; 1 N. Y. Supp. 469.
§ 921. Parents leaving their children chargeable to the public, how proceeded against. When the father, or the mother being a widow or living separate from her husband, absconds from the children, or a husband from his wife, leaving any of them chargeable or likely to become chargeable upon the public, the officers mentioned in section nine hundred and fourteen may apply to any two justices of the peace or police justices in the county in which any real or personal property of the father, mother or husband is situated, for a warrant to seize the same. Upon due proof of the facts, the magistrate must issue his warrant, authorizing the officers so applying to take and seize the property of the person so absconding. Whenever any child shall be committed to an institution pursuant to any provision of law, any criminal court or magistrate may issue a warrant for the arrest of the father of the child, and examine into his ability to maintain such child in whole or in part; and if satisfied that such father is able to contribute toward the support of the child, then
such court or magistrate shall, by order, require the weekly payment by such father of such sum and in such manner as shall be in said order directed toward the maintenance of such child in such institution, which amount when paid shall be credited by the institution to the city, town, or county against any sums due to it therefrom on account of the maintenance of the child. (As amended by chapter 13 of the Laws of 1903.)
In cases of a commitment of a child to an institution under the Penal Code, the magistrate is authorized to order the father to pay a sum for the child's support which is to be credited by the institution to the city, town or county against any sum due for maintenance. Supreme Court, July 7, 1890, People ex rel. Mt. Magdalen School, etc., v. Dickson, 32 St. Rep. 496; 57 Hun, 315; 10 N. Y. Supp. 605.
One of two overseers of the poor is authorized to institute and carry on proceedings for the seizure of property of one who has absconded, leaving his wife or child chargeable to the town. When only one overseer acts, the consent of the other will be presumed. Supreme Court, May, 1839, Downing v. Rugar, 21 Wend. 178.
§ 922. Seizure of their property; transfer thereof, when void. The officers so applying may seize and take the property, wherever it may be found in the same county; and are vested with all the right and title thereto, which the person absconding then had. The sale or transfer of any personal property, left in the county from which he absconded, made after the issuing of the warrant, whether in payment of an antecedent debt or for a new consideration, is absolutely void. The officers must immediately make an inventory of the property seized by them, and return it, together with their proceedings, to the next county court of the county where they reside, there to be filed. (As amended by chapter 880 of the Laws of 1895.)
§ 923. Warrant and seizure, when confirmed or discharged. Direction of the court thereon. The court, upon inquiring into the circumstances of the case, may confirm or discharge the warrant and seizure; and if it be confirmed, must, from time to time, direct what part of the personal property must be sold, and how much of the proceeds of the sale, and of the rents and profits of the real property, if any, are to be applied toward the maintenance of the children or wife of the person absconding.
§ 924. Warrant, in what cases to be discharged. If the party against whom the warrant issued, return and support the wife or children so abandoned, or give security satisfactory to any two justices of the peace, or police justices in the city, village or town, to the overseers of the poor of the town, or in the city of New York, to the commissioners of charities and corrections, that the wife or children so abandoned shall not be chargeable to the town or county, then the warrant must be discharged by an order of the magistrates, and the property taken by virtue thereof restored to the party.
§ 925. Sale of the property seized, and application of its proceeds. The officers must sell at public auction the property ordered to be sold, and receive the rents and profits of the real property of the person absconding, and in those cities, villages or towns which are required to support their own poor, the officers charged therewith must apply the same to the support of the wife or children so abandoned; and for that purpose must draw on the county treasurer, or in the city of New York, upon the comptroller, for the proceeds as directed by special statutes. They must also account to the county court of the county, for all money so received by them, and for the application thereof, from time to time, and may be compelled by that court to render that account at any time. (As amended by chapter 880 of the Laws of 1895.)
§ 926. Powers of superintendents of poor. In those counties where all the poor are a charge upon the county, the superintendents of the poor are vested with the same powers, as are given by this title to the overseers of the poor of a town, in respect to compelling relatives to maintain poor persons, and in respect to the seizure of the property of a parent absconding and abandoning his family; and are entitled to the same remedies in their names, and must perform the duties required by this title, of overseers, and are subject to the same obligations and control.
This section gives to the superintendents of the poor of those counties in which all the poor are a county charge the powers given to the overseers of the towns by the preceding sections. Supreme Court, April 13, 1892, Matter of Weaver v. Benjamin, 45 St. Rep. 97; 18 N. Y. Supp. 631.
An application to compel relatives to maintain poor persons should be nade by the county superintendent, where all the poor are a charge upon the county. Supreme Court, July, 1887, Matter of Tillotson v. Smith, 12 St. Rep. 332.