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Bureau of child support enforcement can help if payments are late

It's not uncommon for Pennsylvania residents -- who are parents and happen to divorce -- to have to pay child support. Most good parents are quite willing to contribute financially to their own children's temporal and future care, even if they no longer wish to be in a marriage to the children's other parent. If you're a custodial parent facing a serious problem with a former spouse who refuses to adhere to an existing court order, you'll be glad to know there are resources available to help you.

Although the money ordered for the other parent to pay is not for you, per se, but for your children, it's understandable you may be relying on those payments to help make ends meet and provide for your children as you move forward in your post-divorce lifestyle together. You never imagined you'd divorce, and you knew you and your kids would not be able to withstand the financial challenges of the situation without assistance from their other parent. If the other parent doesn't make the payments, you can take action to rectify the problem.

Know your facts regarding child support in Pennsylvania

When the court ruled that the non-custodial parent would make child support payments on behalf of your children, you may have felt great relief knowing you would not bear the full financial burden as a custodial parent. Once time began to pass and payments kept not showing up, you knew you were in for a battle. The following information may be useful in helping to resolve your problem:

  • Regardless of whether your former spouse must pay through income withholding, by money order, personal check or cashier's check, the court expects such payments to arrive on time.
  • Things happen in life, and problems can arise that make current payments no longer feasible. If that's the case, your former spouse must request modification of the existing court order, and not simply stop making payments.
  • Pennsylvania considers financial provision for children's care as a dual parental responsibility. Therefore, even if your children's other parent moves to another state, the obligation as per the Pennsylvania court order remains active.
  • A person who is delinquent in child support payments may incur severe penalties that include federal tax refund garnishment, driver's license suspension or a bench warrant for arrest.

There are other remedies allowed by law against child support delinquency as well. The point is that you don't have to take it lying down. Barring the fact that your former spouse is not facing any type of emergency or change of circumstance that impedes ability to pay (and even if that is the case, one did not properly file a request for modification), you can tap into available resources to petition the court to take action so your children receive their entitled funds.

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