Toepel Supports House Bill to Crack Down on Deadbeat Parents
1/24/2012
HARRISBURG — Fighting to protect the rights of Pennsylvania’s children, Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) supports legislation that passed through the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that would make deadbeat parents live up to their obligations.

“I’m dealing with a case in my district right now where a parent was unable to buy Christmas presents for her children because of unpaid child support, all while the other parent absconded into Philadelphia and virtually disappeared,” said Toepel. “As parents, our first responsibility is to our children. Unfortunately, too many parents walk away from that obligation, putting our children and future of Pennsylvania at risk.”

House Bill 1106 would enable deadbeat parents to be located much more easily and would act as a deterrent for those who have the ability to comply with the order but decide not to pay.

Under current law, a parent who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense of failure to pay child support or who is in arrears equal to or greater than one year’s support is charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. House Bill 1106, however, removes language which requires that, in order for a defendant to be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor, the defendant must have established residence outside the Commonwealth with the intention of not complying with the support order.

Not only will this bill put teeth in the statute regarding willful failure to pay support order, it will also enable the offense to be placed in the National Crime Information Center database (NCIC), making it easier to find defendants who flee the county in order to avoid payment.

Toepel also believes this bill will give family court judges an additional tool to enforce support orders. Anecdotal evidence shows that some defendants do not believe that civil contempt proceedings are serious or carry long-term consequences.

“This bill is designed for those who willfully do not stand up to their child support obligations. It allows judges to face offenders and put them in check,” said Toepel.

The bill now awaits full consideration in the House.

State Representative Marcy Toepel
147th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Lauren Whetzel
lwhetzel@pahousegop.com
717.260.6451
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