If you’ve received a contempt notice for failure to pay a child support order, be aware that the judge can put you in jail. The constitution guarantees you the right to an attorney when your liberty is at stake, but your county may or may not provide this to you; assume that you won’t be able to speak to an attorney.
Your ex can not keep you from seeing your child if you are behind in child support. Courts are organized into separate family law categories: support, custody, and divorce. Child custody and child support are separate. Good or bad behavior in one does not affect the other. Your ex can’t withhold your custody time if you’re behind in your child support no matter how much you owe or how far behind you’ve fallen.
The cold hard truth is that if you’re going to court alone and the other side has a lawyer, you’re at a serious disadvantage. Statistics show that the odds are stacked against you and the side with an attorney has a better chance of winning. What can you do to improve your chances and even up the odds? The best way to improve your chances in court is to prepare.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, you’re not alone. The vast majority of people in family court can’t either, and don’t have lawyers – they go it alone. Depending upon where you live or who you ask, the number of self reps can range anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent. The first thing to ask yourself before you decide to go without you, is will it hurt you? Can you do it?
You hurt yourself and began receiving compensation. You saw your employer’s doctor and soon after that, you received a letter to go back to work to a modified job within your restrictions. You don’t think you can do it, and your doctor agrees with you, and gives you a note to stay out of work. What should you do?
This scenario plays out in court throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania all the time. No one should go through this without a workers’ compensation lawyer. The consequences of the choices you make can be so dramatic in this instance, you need as much information as you can get. There’s no way you should make the decision without knowing your legal rights.