We often caution clients regarding their social media use during family law proceedings, because what you post can be used against you in court. But last week, Arizona governor Doug Ducey announced a proposal to use social media to publicly shame and punish so-called "deadbeat" dads. In his "State of the State" speech, Ducey announced a proposal to post photographs and child support debts owed by Arizona residents on Twitter in the hope of drawing attention to their lapsed obligations.
Although the state agency responsible for monitoring child support and this Twitter account assures citizens that only a small number of obligors who have owed significant sums for years will find their pictures posted online, Ducey and his policy have faced a great deal of criticism regarding a policy that focuses exclusively on the dollar amounts owed rather than the circumstances that lead to them. However, in an election year, this appears to be a good policy that will likely prove to increase the approval rating of the newly elected governor who is eager to hear tough on an issue that almost everyone would support on the surface. It remains to be seen what may come of from possible civil or constitutional challenges to the law.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has yet to make any such moves in Pennsylvania. However, under Pennsylvania law, failure to pay child support obligations can result in civil fine and, in the most extreme cases, criminal penalties.
Because these laws exist to ensure that the children are provided for, there is not much anyone including a lawyer can do to fix matters if you're already thousands of dollars in arrears on your obligation. The only way to make sure that you do not end up on the wrong end of a case like this is to make sure you stay current on your obligation and file the necessary paperwork to modify your support obligation if you are no longer able to make the payments. From the other side, obligees have the right to modify if their income or needs substantially change. In fact, all parties to a support case are obligated to update the court if there are substantial changes in income. If you are currently involved in a child support case and would like legal representation, contact our office today!