How Can a Child Support Lawyer Help with an Enforcement Action in Pennsylvania?

Two young children sitting on a wood floor drawing and playing

Child support is intended to ensure children have access to necessities such as food, shelter, and education. However, failure to make child support payments in Pennsylvania is a common problem that affects thousands of children’s well-being. If your child’s co-parent is behind or refuses to pay child support, our Lehigh Valley family law attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad can help you take steps to enforce their financial obligations.

Understanding Child Support Enforcement in PA

In Pennsylvania, child support enforcement is a joint effort that involves the Department of Human Services’ Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) and the County Courts of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Section in each county. In addition to enforcing child support orders, the BCSE helps with establishing paternity, locating non-custodial parents, modification of child support orders, distributing child support payments, and interstate enforcement. Parents who fail to meet their child support obligations can face serious consequences, including criminal prosecution.

Child support orders are usually collected by the state through wage attachment and distributed to the receiver. Although some parents choose to come to their own agreements without involving the courts, child support attorneys do not recommend this, as the courts cannot enforce or collect support payments for these types of arrangements.

How a Family Law Attorney in the Lehigh Valley Can Help with Child Support Enforcement

If you need to enforce a child support order, a family law attorney in eastern Pennsylvania can help you file a petition for contempt with the Domestic Relations office in your county and represent your interests in court. The legal system can be overwhelming – having a child support lawyer by your side can provide peace of mind and make the process less stressful.

Unfortunately, a parent who is obligated to pay child support may try to hide income or assets. A child support attorney can investigate to uncover evidence that proves their ability to pay arrears. Enforcing child support orders can be challenging when a non-custodial parent lives in another state. A family law attorney can help you navigate the complexities of interstate child support enforcement and work to help you obtain the money you are owed.

Family law attorneys understand that these issues are contentious, and lack of financial support can be emotionally taxing as well. They provide the compassionate support you need and can assist you with other challenging issues, such as child custody disputes.

Methods of Child Support Enforcement in PA

The courts and Bureau of Child Support Enforcement may pursue the following remedies to enforce child support payments:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Withholding child support payments from unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, Social Security benefits, and other sources of income
  • Seizure of personal injury settlements or awards
  • Liens against property, such as real estate
  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Seizure of federal and state tax refunds
  • Driver’s license suspension, including commercial licenses
  • Suspension of professional and recreational licenses
  • Passport denial or revocation
  • Intercepting lottery winnings
  • Reporting unpaid child support to credit reporting agencies
  • Publishing the non-paying parent’s name in the newspaper as a delinquent parent

If a non-paying parent is found to be in contempt of court, a judge may impose fines and jail time. Under federal law, if a non-custodial parent owes more than $5,000 of child support for longer than a year for a child who lives in another state, they may face hefty fines and up to two years in prison.

If you’re a parent who’s having a problem making child support payments, a family law attorney can help you file a petition to modify an existing support order and represent you in court. Regardless of which position you may find yourself in, having an experienced child support lawyer by your side can ensure your rights and interests are protected.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in the Lehigh Valley

If you need assistance with custody, divorce, financial support, or other family law matters, the child support attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad are here for you. To schedule a consultation with a Lehigh Valley family law attorney, contact us or call us at 610-867-2900. We operate several locations for your convenience.


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