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What penalties can a parent face for not paying child support?

Pennsylvania family court judges award child support in order to provide for the best interests of the children brought before their benches. Child support is not punitive against a parent; rather, it is ordered so that children affected by parental separation or other legal problems are adequately provided for from their non-custodial parents. Child support is intended to address a child's financial needs and when it is ignored by a paying parent, consequences can result.

For example, the failure to pay child support can lead to a delinquent parent having his driver's license revoked. Additionally, lottery winnings, tax refunds and even workers compensation payments may be intercepted by child support enforcement officials in order to pay off delinquent sums. Failing to pay child support can affect a person's credit, can result in liens being placed on his property and can lead to garnishment of income and wages.

Perhaps most significantly, the failure to pay child support can lead to a charge of committing civil contempt and either a fine, jail time or both. This and the aforementioned penalties that a parent may face for missing child support payments are only some of the ways that the state may seek out and collect money owed to children through child support orders.

Parents subject to child support mandates should know, however, that child support orders can be modified. If, for instance, a parent lost his job and was unable to make child support payments due to reduced income, he may be able to modify his financial obligation to match his ability to pay. However, when parents simply choose not to pay the child support awards made to their kids by Pennsylvania courts, they open themselves up to the mentioned penalties and the legal headaches that come with them.

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