When there is a failure to pay child support, the paying parent may have to contend with varying legal consequences. One legal consequence for failing to appear at a child support hearing in Pennsylvania is the issuance of a warrant for arrest. However, with an extensive backlog of cases, one Pennsylvania county has found a unique was to deal with back child support, while also helping the parents to find a way to avoid further penalties — a day of amnesty.
The program gives parents who are behind the chance to turn themselves in without fear of arrest. The cases are then heard individually and reviewed. The reasons for not being able to pay can be addressed, and a warrant for arrest can be dismissed based on the review.
The amnesty program has been used in past years and positive results have been garnered. Those who are behind and have a warrant out for their arrests receive letters explaining the program and telling them what to do. A defendant can then appear and explain his or her situation.
The point of the program is to get parents back on track. Pennsylvania family court judges realize the importance of adequate and continued child support for the well-being and development of children. When parents can address and rectify the reasons for missed payments, a modification may be enacted and the results can mean more consistent child support that is fair for all involved. Parents in Pennsylvania who have missed hearings and have warrants out for their arrests may want to investigate their options to determine if any kind of program is available to help them with regards to child support.
Source: post-gazette.com, “Allegheny County offers amnesty program to those wanted for unpaid child support“, Paula Reed, Feb. 9, 2015