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New Work Search Contempt Court has great potential

It’s called Work Search Contempt Court, and its clientele consists of parents who skip out on making child support payments.

This represents a new approach to an old dilemma — dealing with non-custodial parents who are more interested in themselves than the welfare of their children.

It should be noted that many separated parents recognize their responsibility — morally and not just legally — to take care of their own, and they do an admirable job of supporting their offspring, financially as well as in the many other ways that a good parent is needed.

Unfortunately, not all do.

For years, Lycoming County domestic relations staff have worked diligently to secure court-ordered payments from those who are reluctant to do the right thing on behalf of their children. These payments help to provide food, a decent place to live and other necessary items for children of parents living outside of the domicile.

The domestic relations office has tried many measures over the decades, from annual roundups of delinquents to garnishing wages. But it’s difficult to garnish wages of a person who is not employed, or at least shows themselves on paper not to be.

Rolled out in January, the county’s new Work Search Contempt Court is designed to help people gain employment with a wage-detachable income or a job where child support may be estimated and paid. Until they get a job, those who enter the program are required to appear monthly before Judge Joy R. McCoy, who presides over family court.

And the judge has all sorts of ways to help set her clientele on a positive track to redemption, not just in the eyes of the law but quite possibly also in the eyes of their children.

Who knows, once delinquent payers own up to their financial responsibility, maybe they’ll also get to know the children they may have tried to forget. And that may be worth more than all of the money in the world.

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