In an attempt to collect more than $20 million owed in child support, Allegheny County has developed a plan to offer amnesty to parents facing arrest warrants for failure to appear at a family court division hearing. For more on this program, continue reading today's blogs by your Pittsburgh child support lawyers.
Under the program, which is set to be held on Thursday and Friday of this week, individuals who owe child support and have bench warrants against them will have the opportunity to participate in this program and avoid being arrested. Additionally, their cases will be reviewed, and if they qualify the amount of child support they have been required to pay each month may be modified.
One of the directors of the program, in discussing it, stated that review of the monthly obligation will occur if the defendant believes payment is too high. In addition, if the defendant can't make payments because he or she doesn't have a job, the individual will be given access to an employment search program.
Though you may be shocked to hear back this program, it is not the first time Allegheny County has used amnesty to encourage Western Pennsylvanians to pay their child support. In 2007, the first time the program was launched, 800 individuals, out of the 3,000 with outstanding warrants, participated. Then the second time around, in 2011, 300 warrants were cleared.
Like the second installment of the program, potential participants will be targeted. Parents who have outstanding warrants have received communication via mail providing them with information about the program and inviting them to participate. Based on the success of the program in the past, plenty of court staff will be on hand to help those that want to take advantage of the program.
The goal of the program is to help Allegheny County parents who are behind on child support to get back on track and help them begin making regular payments. According to court data, there are currently 42,000 active child support cases in Allegheny County. Of these cases, 84% of the money owed was collected, 21% higher than the national average. Statistics from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement show that not only is Allegheny County successful at collection child support, but Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of collection in the nation.
If you don't qualify for this amnesty program, but you are interested in modifying your monthly Pennsylvania child support obligation, contact our team at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our team of Pittsburgh family lawyers will be happy to give you an assessment of your case and provide you with the legal representation necessary to request a modification. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.