Enforcement of Child Support in PA

Managing a household as a couple can be hard enough – as a single parent, managing a job and family solo can be burdensome. When a parent is able to get a support award, collecting can be tricky. Whether it locating the other parent, establishing paternity, or getting payments timely, there are numerous headaches that can still occur once a support order is entered. Fortunately, Pennsylvania has a highly effective approach in effect for enforcement of child support orders which enacts various procedures and penalties.

The process of getting an award for child support begins with locating the parent and establishing paternity if that is not confirmed or at issue. Generally, a conference takes place where both parents’ financials and the needs of the child/children are assessed. Based upon the combined income of the parents and the number of children, the conference officer will cross reference the support guidelines to establish a recommended amount.

Upon entry of a support order, the payor is expected to make timely monthly payments, which can be accepted in a number of ways. When a payor does not make the payments, Pennsylvania programs immediately take effect to initiate collection efforts.

These collection efforts are triggered immediately and begin tracking time and amount overdue in accordance with the appropriate penalties. A parent that does not pay child support may be subject to the following penalties for the enforcement of child support in accordance with the PA Child Support Program:

  1. National/State New Hire Reporting: Employer reports information on new employees which is cross-referenced with child support records. This ensures that a non-paying parent is not secretly working, pocketing pay, and skipping out on paying support.
  2. Federal/State Tax Refund Offset: any tax refund will be absorbed and used towards payment of child support.
  3. Work Requirements: If the lack of payment is due to the obligor not having employment, a non-payor may be ordered to work by the Court or ordered to join an employment program.
  4. Credit Reporting: Overdue support will be reported to credit reporting agencies and can adversely affect a credit score.
  5. License suspension: If payment is overdue by at least three months and the Court has not ordered income withholding, a non-payor may have a driver’s license (including commercial), professional license, occupational, fishing/hunting license suspended.
  6. Passport: Denial of passport may be used as enforcement of child support for arrears over $2,500.
  7. Lottery intercept: Winnings over $2,500 may be taken an applied to an unpaid balance.
  8. Fines/Prison: Project Save Our Children Task force is a federal agency that investigates and prosecutes the worst cases such as unpaid support in excess of $5,000 of over a year. One could face up to two years in prison for such offenses.
  9. Publication: A non-payor’s name will be published in the newspaper if child support is more than thirty days overdue.
  10. Liens on Real Estate: Overdue, unpaid support becomes an automatic lien on all real estate owned in Pennsylvania.

Even if you have already gotten a support order entered, receiving payment of arrears and future monthly payments can be difficult. Contact the experienced Bucks County divorce attorneys to handle your case and ensure your children have the resources they need. Call today at (215) 693-6191 to schedule a consultation, or submit an online inquiry form and a member of our team will contact you shortly.