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When couples file for divorce, they don’t go into it thinking, “I’m not going to support my children,” but sometimes unexpected events in life, such as a job loss, an accident, or an illness make it impossible for a non-custodial parent to afford their monthly child support obligation. The problem is, when parents can’t pay, sometimes they sweep it under the rug and ignore the issue.

When non-custodial parents fail to ask the court for a downward modification, things can spiral out of control and the courts can take action to persuade the non-compliant parent to satisfy their child support obligations.

If you’re a parent who is heading toward a divorce, it’s important that you’re aware of the state’s Dead Beat Parent Law. After all, if you’re aware of it, you can avoid unwittingly falling victim to it. You can also save yourself a lot of trouble.

What is the Dead Beat Parent Law?

Pennsylvania’s Dead Beat Parent Law punishes parents who:

  • Owe more than three months of child support.
  • Failed to stick to a child custody order.
  • Failed to follow a partial custody order.
  • Failed to follow any warrants or subpoenas involving a child support case in Pennsylvania.

When a parent does any of the above, PennDOT is notified. From there, it mails a Notice of Suspension to the individual. “Allowing for mail time, the suspension takes effect 7 days from the date PennDOT processes the request and the loss of driving privilege is for an indefinite period,” according to

Related: Child Support License Suspensions in Pennsylvania

If an individual’s license is suspended by PennDOT under the Dead Beat Parent Law, their driver license will be suspended until PennDOT receives notice from the Department of Public Welfare that the parent satisfied their obligation. To restore their driving privilege, the person would also have to pay a restoration fee to PennDOT.

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