Harrisburg Family Law Enforcement Lawyers
Protecting Your Parental Rights
When a party subject to a family law order fails to comply with the terms of that order, the other party can go to court in an effort to find the other party in contempt. The contempt order empowers other agencies such as the sheriff or police to enforce the order.
A finding of contempt is very serious. The party subject to the contempt order can be put in jail, have his or her wages garnished to pay for child support or lose driving privileges.
At Scaringi Law, we represent both sides in contempt and enforcement matters. We are knowledgeable concerning the law and court procedures concerning these actions, and we work diligently to protect our clients' rights.
For a free consultation about an enforcement matter, contact Scaringi Law
Child Support Enforcement
When someone has become delinquent regarding their child support payments, the party who is supposed to receive child support can get the government to seize the noncompliant party’s income and property.
Pennsylvania courts are empowered to enforce child support orders using the following methods:
- Wage attachment: This lets someone garnish the obligor’s earnings to satisfy a child support debt. A person’s wages or salary can be diverted to paying child support before the employee can deposit them in their bank.
- Freezing financial accounts: Liens can be attached to retirement, pension, and profit-sharing accounts and used to satisfying child support obligations.
- Intercepting tax refunds: If the IRS or Pennsylvania Department of Revenue owes you a tax refund, part of your refund can be redirected to fulfill outstanding child support debts.
- Seizing lottery winnings: Winnings from the Pennsylvania Lottery that exceed $2,500 can be intercepted and taken to satisfy delinquent child support payments.
- Property liens: Overdue child support obligations create a lien on all of the noncompliant party’s real property in Pennsylvania. A lien allows creditors
Denying Licenses to Enforce Child Support
A person who has refused or failed to pay child support can have a license revoked or denied as a way of compelling them to comply with their child support obligation, including:
- Driver’s licenses: Courts can order the Department of Transportation to deny someone their driver’s licenses if they owe three months or more of monthly support payments.
- Professional licenses: Newly issued or renewed licenses for engaging in a professional practice like law, medicine, or cosmetology can be denied to delinquent child support obligors. This will impair a person’s ability to make a return on investment for their professional training.
- Recreational licenses: A court can also deny issuance of recreational licenses, such as for fishing and hunting, if the obligor spouse owes more than three months of unpaid support.
- Passports: When someone’s combined child support arrears total more than $2,500, a person’s U.S. passport may be canceled or denied until they fully pay all their outstanding child support debt.
Contempt of Court
One of the most powerful methods of enforcing child support is using the judicial procedure known as “contempt of court.” Courts have the power to impose fines and imprisonment as a way of vindicating its authority in cases where someone disobeys a valid court order.
A Pennsylvania court can hold someone in contempt on its own accord or at the request of a party. However, contempt proceedings for disobeying a valid child support order are mostly initiated at someone’s request.
Although a person who is found in contempt of court may be arrested and thrown in jail, contempt for unpaid child support is considered a civil rather than criminal proceeding. As a result, criminal due process protections—such as the right to counsel—do not apply to contempt proceedings.
In child support cases, a person’s jail sentence for contempt is usually conditioned upon repayment of outstanding child support. A contemnor can find themselves stuck in jail for as long as they refuse to honor their child support obligations. Thus, the jail sentence for failing to comply with a valid child support order can last for an hour or a week, depending on how stubborn the contemnor feels.
Enforcing Custody and Visitation Rights
Courts take a dim view of parents who violate a custody or visitation order. A parent found in contempt faces the loss of custody of the child(ren) or visitation rights, fines and the requirement to pay the opposing party's attorney's fees. Our firm can provide results-oriented representation to protect your rights.
We represent clients whose children have been moved to Pennsylvania in violation of an out-of-state custody order. For responsive help in an interstate child custody matter, call (717) 775-7195.
Spousal Support and Property Division Orders
Family law orders involving spousal support and property division are also enforceable through the power of the court. Scaringi Law, can advise you concerning your legal options.
Contact a Lawyer
To learn more about your rights and how Scaringi Law, can help you, contact our firm.