In Pennsylvania, the consequences of not paying court-ordered child support are severe. If you fail to pay, you may face jail time. You may also lose your driver’s license or your professional license. As such, it is vital to keep up with your support payments. If you simply cannot, asking a judge to modify the obligation may be the right approach.

Initial child support

In the Keystone State, judges take child support seriously. After all, they want to be sure children have enough financial resources to thrive. Before making an initial child support order, judges consider the following factors:


  • Each parent’s income and assets
  • Each parent’s time with the kids
  • Each child’s needs

Modified child support

While the law expects you to stay current on your child support payments, it also recognizes that you may have a change in circumstances that makes payment difficult or impossible. The following circumstances may sway a judge:

  • An increase in parental time
  • An increase in the receiving parent’s income
  • A decrease in the paying parent’s income
  • A change in the needs of the children

Inherent risk

If you cannot pay child support or have another valid reason for seeking a modification, asking a judge to change your support obligation may make sense. Still, there is some inherent risk in doing so. That is, when you request a support modification, a judge may decide that you should pay more in child support after reviewing relevant evidence.

Your child support obligation will not last forever. Still, if you cannot make your monthly payments, you may feel overwhelming anxiety. By understanding what it takes to modify a support order, you can make the right decision for both you and your family.