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When it comes to things getting in the way of travelling abroad, people tend to think about tax debt, being on probation or parole, and having pending criminal charges – those types of issues. But past-due child support? That’s usually the furthest from people’s minds.

If you’re headed toward a Pennsylvania divorce and you have minor children with your spouse, it’s important that you know that if a noncustodial parent falls behind on their child support payments, he or she can be barred from obtaining a U.S. passport.

According to, “If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.” So, what if you are the one that ends up paying child support and you fall more than $2,500 behind?

You cannot get a U.S. passport until you contact the local child support agency and make arrangements to pay the child support arrears. Once you’ve made acceptable payment arrangements, after about 2 or 3 weeks, your application can be processed as normal.

To learn more about obtaining a U.S. passport when you owe arrears, click here.

Passport Denials Aren’t the Only Concern

When parents get divorced for the first time in Pennsylvania, they don’t always understand the full ramifications of falling behind on their child support payments. If you’re going to be paying child support, we want you to know that if you fall behind, any of the following can occur and they are not positive:

  • Your bank account can be seized.
  • The arrears can be reported on your credit.
  • Your tax refund can be intercepted.
  • Any lottery winnings can be intercepted.
  • Your driver license can be suspended.
  • Your professional and occupational licenses can be suspended.
  • Your recreational licenses (hunting and fishing) can be suspended.
  • Liens can be placed against your real estate properties.
  • You can be held in contempt of court.
  • If all other collection efforts fail, you can be fined and incarcerated.

To learn more, we recommend reading, “Beware of Pennsylvania’s Dead Beat Parent Law.” To obtain a no-fault divorce for just $299, please contact Cairns Law Offices today!

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