The penalties for falling behind on child support in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Family Law

Child support is necessary for ensuring the well-being of children whose parents get separated or divorced. In Pennsylvania, when you fall behind on your payments, the state can take action to enforce compliance.

To avoid serious consequences, it is important to know what the penalties are for falling behind on child support payments.

License suspension

One major penalty for falling behind on child support is the suspension of your driver’s license, professional license or recreational license, such as a hunting or fishing permit. This can make it difficult to get to work or enjoy leisure activities.

Garnishment of wages

Pennsylvania can also garnish your wages, meaning a portion of your paycheck is automatically withheld to pay the overdue child support. This reduces your take-home pay and can make budgeting more challenging.

Liens and seizure of assets

If you owe a significant amount in child support, the state may place a lien on your property or even seize assets such as bank accounts or vehicles to satisfy the debt.

Reporting to credit bureaus

Failure to pay child support can negatively impact your credit score. The Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System reports delinquent payments to credit bureaus, making it harder to obtain loans or credit cards in the future.

Passport denial

Falling behind on child support can also impact your ability to travel internationally. If you owe more than $2,500 in arrears, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services can ask the U.S. Department of State to deny your passport application or renewal.

By prioritizing child support payments, you can avoid legal troubles while also ensuring the well-being of your child.