At Cairns Law Offices, we are a Pennsylvania divorce law firm that helps people obtain, low-cost, no-fault divorces. By no-fault, we specifically help divorcing couples achieve mutual consent divorces, which means both spouses agree to obtain a divorce, and usually as painlessly as possible.
Since we are a divorce law firm, we frequently deal with matters pertaining to child custody and support, marital settlement agreements, and spousal support. Since child support is a common issue for our clients, we wanted to create a post where we discuss the consequences of not paying child support.
Child Support in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania and all other states, both parents are legally required to financially support their children. That said, our clients will typically enter into a marital settlement agreement and the non-custodial parent will accept responsibility for paying child support.
Usually, parents enter such agreements with good intentions, but sometimes things happen down the road that make "paying" child support a challenge for the paying parent.
Since this happens more often than parents would like to admit, we'd like to discuss the consequences because they can have a negative effect on everyone involved.
In fact, these consequences can be quite severe and all too often, the parent who is in default on their child support payments runs into so many legal problems, the problems make earning money for child support an even bigger hassle than it already was.
What can happen if I don't pay child support?
- You could be held in contempt of court
- You could be incarcerated for up to six months
- You could be on probation for up to six months
- You could be fined up to $500
- The money in your bank accounts can be seized
- Your workers' compensation award can be seized
- Your driver's license can be suspended
- Your professional or occupational license can be seized
- A lien can be placed against any real estate that you own
- If you win the lottery, it can be intercepted
- The default will be reported on your credit
- Your name can be published in the newspaper as a "delinquent parent"
As you can see, the consequences for not paying child support can be quite severe. If something happens, for example, if your hours are cut back, or if you are injured in a workplace accident, or if you lose your job, you must go to court to ask for a downward modification.
You cannot simply stop paying payments because you lost your job, or because you became ill. If you stop paying your payments because your income drops, the arrears will add up and you can be arrested, your license can be suspended, your professional license can be revoked, etc.
If anything happens in your life and you can't afford your child support payments, make sure that you take steps immediately to petition the court for a downward modification. Otherwise, you could face serious legal consequences for stopping your court-ordered payments.