Even if you are a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, judges expect you to show up for your child support hearings. They especially would like to see you if the purpose of the hearing is to discuss why you have not been paying your child support. That was the situation for one Congressman (not from Pennsylvania) who had a child support hearing last week. The Congressman allegedly owes more than $100,000 in back child support.
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) did not appear at the hearing last Wednesday. His lawyer offered, helpfully, that Mr. Walsh is a member of Congress. But the judge was unimpressed with that reason for Mr. Walsh’s absence.
“Well, he’s no different than anyone else,” the judge said.
It looked as though the judge was prepared to order Rep. Walsh to attend the next hearing, but when Mr. Walsh’s ex-wife’s legal team said they did not think it was necessary for the Congressman to be present, the judge relented.
Mr. Walsh’s ex-wife requested the hearing because she says Mr. Walsh was making half payments of his child support for several years, then stopped paying altogether. His explanation was that he had no money, but he did not go back to court to request an official reduction in child support.
The ex-Mrs. Walsh apparently was prepared to believe Rep. Walsh, or at least not to contest the matter in court, until she heard that the Congressman had made a $35,000 contribution to his own election campaign.
Now, Pittsburgh child support attorneys have noted from news reports that the judge in the case has issued a “rule to show cause,” which means Rep. Walsh needs to provide the court with an explanation for his failure to keep up with his child support payments. If the explanation is inadequate, Rep. Walsh risks a finding of contempt of court.
Source: Sun-Times “Judge scolds Rep. Joe Walsh in child-support case with ex-wife” Sept. 14, 2011