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Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hunting Down Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Fugitives

Q: What should I do if I can’t make my child support payment?

Many people have heard of or watched "America's Most Wanted" a television show that for a quarter of a century, used actors to reenact dangerous fugitives and sought public’s help in locating them and bringing them to justice. The episodes would display a toll-free phone number for viewers to call in their tips on the fugitive’s whereabouts.

Well, hard-core or violent criminals are not the only fugitives that are being sought out. The hunt is on for “domestic relations fugitives” and local sheriff’s offices are asking for the public’s help in tracking down some of the Family Court’s “Most-Wanted” offenders.

A domestic relations fugitive is a person who is wanted for failure to appear in Family Court. Often, the fugitive is delinquent in child support payments or may have been a no-show at the initial hearing where the monthly child support payment amount was scheduled to be set.

Pennsylvania family law attorneys can not only help parents with establishing child support payments, but can also assist them in obtaining a child-support modification order if their financial circumstances have significantly changed after the initial support order was entered.

It is always best to see counsel from an experienced family law attorney before falling into default on your child support obligation. Ignoring the payment obligation could have serious legal and other consequences.

In addition to a bench warrant being issued for their arrest, a domestic relations fugitive may also be "outed" as a so-called "deadbeat” dad or mom on “Most-Wanted” lists on court’s or sheriff’s websites. In some states, notices can show up on social media, too. Not only is the fugitive’s name and last known address noted, but the amount of child support arrears is also made public, along with a request for the public’s help in finding the fugitive.

Having this information made public can not only be embarrassing but may impact your relationship with their employer—which could have even further financial repercussions. Of course, not everyone intentionally dodges their child support obligation, but if you don’t seek a modification order, it may look like you are intentionally skipping out even if it’s really due to a change in your financial situation.

If you need assistance in any family law matter, including but not limited to divorce, child support, or modification orders, The Law Offices of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. can help.  For over 25 years, we've been servicing the legal needs of the people of Reading and the surrounding counties. Please contact us to schedule an appointment to see how we can help you resolve your legal challenges.

 


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