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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 07-1077


Title 231--RULES


[231 PA. CODE CH. 1910]

Order Amending Rules 1910.25-3, 1910.25-4, 1910.25-5 and Promulgating New Rule 1910.25-7; No. 479 Civil Procedural Rules; Doc. No. 5

[37 Pa.B. 2800]
[Saturday, June 23, 2007]


Per Curiam:

   And Now, this 11th day of June, 2007, Rules 1910.25-3, 1910.25-4 and 1910.25-5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure are amended and new Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1910.25-7 is promulgated as follows.

   This order shall be processed in accordance with Pa. R.J.A. 103(b) and shall be effective immediately.

   Mr. Justice Fitzgerald did not participate in the consideration or decision of this matter.

Annex A




Rule 1910.25-3. Civil Contempt. Conference Summary. Order. Hearing De Novo.

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   (b)  The court, without hearing the parties, may enter an appropriate order after consideration of the conference summary. [The order shall state] Each party shall be provided with a copy of the order and written notice that any party may, within [ten] twenty days after the date of receipt or the date of the mailing [of a copy] of the order, whichever occurs first, file a written demand with the domestic relations section for a hearing before the court.

*      *      *      *      *

Rule 1910.25-4. Civil Contempt. Alternative Procedure. Record Hearing. Report. Exceptions. Order.

*      *      *      *      *

   (c)  Within [ten] twenty days after the conclusion of the hearing, any party may file exceptions to the report or any part thereof, to rulings on objections, to statements or findings of fact, to conclusions of law, or to any other matters occurring during the hearing. Each exception shall set forth a separate objection precisely and without discussion. Matters not covered by exceptions are deemed waived unless, prior to the entry of the order, leave is granted to file exceptions raising those matters.

   (d)  If no exceptions are filed within the [ten] twenty-day period, the court shall review the report and, if approved, enter an order.

*      *      *      *      *

Rule 1910.25-5. Civil Contempt. Contempt Order. Incarceration.

*      *      *      *      *

   (b)  An order committing a respondent to jail for civil contempt of a support order shall specify the conditions the fulfillment of which will result in the release of the respondent.

*      *      *      *      *

Rule 1910.25-7. Indirect Criminal Contempt. Incarceration.

   In addition to any other remedy available to the court, the court may order the respondent to obtain employment with income that can be verified and is subject to income attachment. If the respondent willfully fails to comply with an order to obtain such employment, the court may commit the respondent to jail upon adjudication for indirect criminal contempt, provided the respondent is afforded all of the procedural safeguards available to criminal defendants.

Explanatory Comment--2007

   Parental support of children is a fundamental requirement of law and public policy. Absent an inability to maintain employment or acquire other income or assets, sanction in the form of incarceration may be imposed by the court to compel compliance and provide an incentive to obey the law. The contempt process, which should be used as a last resort, is necessary to impose coercive sanctions upon those obligors whose circumstances provide no recourse to the court to compel payment or a good faith effort to comply. Appellate opinions have made it clear that an obligor who is in civil contempt cannot be incarcerated without the present ability to fulfill the conditions the court imposes for release. However, the courts also have noted that recalcitrant obligors may be imprisoned for indirect criminal contempt if afforded the proper procedural safeguards. See Godfrey v. Godfrey, 894 A.2d 776 (Pa. Super. 2006); Hyle v. Hyle, 868 A.2d 601 (Pa. Super. 2005).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 07-1077. Filed for public inspection June 22, 2007, 9:00 a.m.]

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