Judge takes creative approach in child support case

When it comes to family court, judges may have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to finding various ways to settle legal issues. One judge found an unusual and creative way to deal with a child support case, and it is gaining media attention. Pennsylvania families in the midst of child support issues may take interest in the judge’s ruling.

According to the news report, a man was in court for failure to pay child support for the last two years. The man reportedly owes more than $13,000 in back child support. His punishment handed down by the judge entails the man having to wear a sign around his neck that says ‘I haven’t paid child support and I’m in contempt of court.’ He has been sentenced to wearing the sign three days a week for three hours each time until the back child support has been paid.

While creative in one sense, the man’s family is not happy about the punishment. They claim the man has cancer and should not be made to stand outside with the sign for long periods of time. Others are also looking into the punishment. Reportedly, the NAACP may become involved in this man’s case.

While judges do have some freedom to alter punishments or rulings to fit a particular case, there are confines within the law that can’t be overlooked. If further investigation of this case reveals the punishment is a detriment to the man’s health or his rights, there may have to be an alternative punishment for failure to pay child support. Pennsylvania families involved in child support proceedings know how difficult the issues can be on both sides. While it remains to be seen if the judge’s decision will stand, it does underscore the point that courts take child support obligations seriously.

Source: wjtv.com, “Man Ordered to Wear Child Support Sign,” Beth Alexander, March 15, 2013