For many divorced parents, receiving regular child support payments plays a critical role in ensuring they’re able to sufficiently provide for their children. That said, in some cases, parents who pay child support may wonder what would happen if they stopped paying. Please continue reading and reach out to the knowledgeable Pennsylvania family lawyers here at Berman Voss to learn more about non-payment of child support, whether it can impact your custody agreement, and more. Here are some of the questions you may have:
Does Non-Payment of Child Support Affect Custody Arrangements?
Pennsylvania law emphasizes the welfare and best interests of the child in custody and support cases. Non-payment of child support is a serious issue that courts do not take lightly. However, it’s critical to understand that custody and child support are treated as separate legal matters. Under the Pennsylvania Code, Title 23, Section 4323, custody decisions are made based on what best serves the child’s health, safety, and welfare. Financial instability or difficulties, including failure to pay child support, do not automatically disqualify a parent from obtaining custody. Nonetheless, consistent non-payment can indirectly impact a parent’s custody rights over time.
What Are the Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support?
Failure to fulfill child support obligations can lead to severe repercussions. Berman Voss advises clients that the court might impose penalties such as wage garnishment, bank account seizure, and even incarceration for contempt of court. While these measures aim to enforce support payments, they also serve as an indirect message regarding the parent’s reliability and responsibility. Judges might consider these factors when determining custody arrangements, especially if the non-payment reflects broader issues of neglect or irresponsibility towards the child’s needs.
How Can Parents Protect Their Custody Rights While Facing Financial Hardships?
Attorneys at Berman Voss recommend proactive communication with the court and the other parent in cases of financial hardship. Courts can modify child support orders if a parent’s financial situation changes significantly. Filing a petition for modification of child support, under Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 1910.19, allows the court to reassess the parent’s financial ability and adjust the support amount accordingly. This action demonstrates the parent’s commitment to their child’s welfare, potentially mitigating negative impacts on custody discussions.
If you have further questions about child support in Pennsylvania or require the assistance of a competent Pennsylvania family lawyer, please don’t hesitate to contact Berman Voss today.