Is an enforcement hearing different from a contempt hearing?

Q: My sons father hasn’t paid since July of 2017. He owes over $4,000.00. There was an enforcement hearing on Monday, which I could not attend. Today, I received paper saying on March 21st there is a contempt hearing. So, I was just curious as to what goes on at the enforcement hearing and what goes on at the contempt. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: When you hear the word, “contempt”, it is generally not good. It means that the defendant has failed to comply with an order of court. In Family Law, if a judge orders a defendant to pay X amount by X date, and the defendant does not, a contempt hearing is held. At the hearing if the judge determines that the defendant is in contempt, the law permits the judge to sentence the defendant to 6 months in jail. The ways around it are to pay the full amount by the time of the hearing or make a substantial payment before the hearing or bring a substantial amount of money to the hearing. It is generally all about money. If no payment is made and the defendant has no valid excuse for not paying, he may be spending spring and summer in the Allegheny Iron Hilton.

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