Surprising Facts About Child Support Enforcement in Pennsylvania

What happens if you don’t pay child support in Pennsylvania? The Commonwealth has a number of tools available to assist in collection of child support arrears.

Tax Refund Garnishment

Are you banking on that tax refund in April? If you owe child support, the State has the right to seize your income tax return. This is referred to as the Federal and State Refund Offset Program.

Credit Bureau Reporting

Do you have a stellar credit score? If you want to keep it that way, keep those support payments up to date. The State has the right to report your name and the amount of child support arrears to the major credit reporting agencies. This can affect everything from you purchasing a car to renting an apartment or getting a cell phone.

License Suspension

Does your job require you to carry a CDL? Do you enjoy deer hunting every fall? If you owe at least three (3) months of child support arrears, the State can suspend your driver’s license, your CDL, and your hunting and fishing license. This can lead to a loss of employment and cause serious disruption in your day-to-day life.

Passport Denial

Are you planning a big trip to Cancun? If you haven’t ordered your passport yet, the United States Department of State can refuse to issue you a passport. If you owe over $2,500.00 in arrears, your ability to travel outside the country can be seriously impeded.

Lottery and Personal Injury Settlement Intercept

Did you hit it big on a scratch-off ticket? Do you have a sizeable personal injury settlement coming your way? The State has the right to seize your winnings or settlement to pay down your arrears amount.

Fine or Prison

Nobody wants to go to jail. However, there are state and federal laws that can land you in prison for not paying child support. For instance, federal law makes it a crime to owe child support greater than $5,000 for more than a year and not pay the support for a child living in another state. You can be fined and put in jail for up to two (2) years.

This list isn’t exhaustive. The State has a number of remedies available to ensure your support payments stay up-to-date. The best way to avoid these child support enforcement mechanisms is to make sure your payments are current. If you have any issues with payments or questions about support, contact the Pittsburgh family law attorneys at Dodaro, Matta, & Cambest, P.C. today at 412-243-1600.

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