Getting an order for child support is the first step and thankfully, for many children, also the last. Unfortunately, there are too many cases where a child support order is not worth the paper it’s written on because the paying parent refuses to pay despite the existence of a court order.
How do they get away with it? They move away and hide, they work under the table, they feign illness and swear they are unable to work, they retire prematurely, they commence custody proceedings in an attempt to have primary residence of their children, thus avoiding the payment of child support, and on and on.
Collecting child support from a scoundrel parent can be a futile exercise, one where time, emotion, and most of all, money is thrown away trying to obtain “blood from a stone”.
However, Beth Ann Holderman from Pennsylvania found a novel way to pursue the father of her child who had not paid one cent and owed $42,803 in child support arrears. She hired bounty hunter Scott Bernstein to lure Joshua Garlathy to leave his home in Maui and return to Pennsylvania so she could get him before a judge.
What trap did Bernstein set? He convinced Garlathy that he was up for a role in a movie starring Jennifer Aniston, that was filming in Pennsylvania. A plane ticket was sent to him and when he arrived at the airport, Mr. Bernstein had a film crew on hand who videotaped his arrival and arrest for a reality TV show about parents who refuse to pay child support.
Mr. Garlathy defended himself calling the Pennsylvania court system unfair and insisting that he survived on disability payments and food stamps as he suffered from arthritis, psoriasis and depression. He said he had $80 in his bank account and his only assets were a guitar and a saxaphone. He refused to admit that he was working as a musician in Maui, asserting that he only played at open mike nights and received no income.
Suggesting that perhaps Mr. Garlathy lacked talent, Judge Kelly Banach found Mr. Garlathy in contempt of court for his failure to pay support and sentenced him to six months in county prison with a work release so that he could earn money in prison to pay the support owed. The judge also ordered Garlathy’s release from prison once he had paid of a minimum of $10,000. Criminal charges are pending against him as well.
For Mr. Garlathy to have fallen for this ploy he must have a tremendous ego. Imagine starring in a film with one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang