Child Support at a Glance

In a divorce involving minor children, the courts in Pennsylvania base child support decisions on a number of factors, such as the child’s standard of living during the marriage, the income of the custodial and noncustodial parent, if the custodial parent is receiving alimony, as well as the health, medical and educational expenses of the child. The amount of monthly child support payments will be stated in the child support order, which the noncustodial parent must obey until the child reaches adulthood.

Enforcing a Child Support Order

Some parents may not make the monthly payments according to the order, or stop making payments entirely – and are often referred to as deadbeat parents. In order to enforce the order, it is necessary to prepare and file a legal document with the court known as an Order to Show Cause, which must also be served to the non-paying parent. The court will then schedule a show cause hearing where the noncustodial parent must explain why the failed to abide by the terms of the child support order.

If the court finds the parent has violated the order without cause, it can take a number of steps. In particular, the court can order that the child support payments be automatically deducted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. The court can also take more drastic action by garnishing wages and income, placing a lien on real property, or seize bank accounts. There are a number of other actions the court can take, including holding the non-paying parent in contempt of court for willfully disobeying a court order. In this case the parent may face prison time and also be ordered to pay a fine. If you need help enforcing a child support order, you should engage the services of an experienced family law attorney.