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Consequences of delinquent child support

Family courts may order one parent to pay child support when they don't live in the same home as the child. Pennsylvania parents may need to start paying financial support for their child when one spouse files for divorce or when unmarried parents separate. These payments are meant to help the child or children have a lifestyle similar to what they would have if their parents lived together. Failure to pay court-ordered child support has consequences.

When a noncustodial parent fails to make regular child support payments, the children may not have the things they need. If that parent goes an extended amount of time without making a payment, the court may get involved and issue a warrant. This warrant will require the noncustodial parent to explain the reason for the failure to a judge. In order to secure the required amount in support, the court may order the parent's wages to be garnished.

This could cause financial hardship if the noncustodial parents earn less money than they did when the original order was issued. The court may adjust the amount they need to pay if their financial circumstances have changed significantly. Parents who evade warrants may not be able to pass background checks required for employment. They may also be arrested if they don't go to court on the assigned date.

Parents who are delinquent in their child support obligations may be at risk of wage garnishment or even arrest. To avoid these consequences, they might want to have an attorney's help in seeking a modification if the failure is due to a job loss or medical emergency.

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