In Pennsylvania, the consequences of not paying court-ordered child support may be quite serious. In the most severe cases, if you fail to pay, you may face jail time. You may also have your driver’s license or your passport suspended.. As such, it is vital to keep up with your support payments. If you are unable to make your required child support payments, asking a judge to modify the obligation may be the right approach.
Initial child support
In Pennsylvania, judges take child support seriously. After all, they want to be sure children have enough financial resources to thrive. When entering an initial child support order, courts 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 requires you to stay current with 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
If you cannot pay your court-ordered child support or have another valid reason for seeking a modification, asking a judge to reduce your support obligation may make sense. However, there is some inherent risk in doing so. There is always the chance that when you request a support modification, a judge may determine 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. Knowing that under certain circumstances a Court will modify a support order, enables you to make the right decision for both you and your family.