What Happens If You Fail To Pay Child Support?
During a divorce that involves children, the courts often order one of the parents to pay child support. State law in Pennsylvania stipulates that all parents must financially support their children until they are no longer minors. Child support orders issued during divorce are final and legally binding. While the initial amount of support ordered may be practical at the time, situations can arise that make paying child support very challenging, or even impossible. So, what happens if you fail to pay child support? Below, our Media child support lawyer explains.
Being Held in Contempt of Court
If you fail to pay child support, the first action your former spouse is likely to take is to petition the court. After the petition is filed, a hearing is scheduled to determine if you can be held in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. You will be notified of the date of the hearing and if you fail to attend, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, meaning you may face jail time. A judge may still find that you are in contempt of court even if you attend the hearing. In this case, jail time may still be a very real possibility.
How to Prove Your Case
There is a popular saying that the only constant in life is change. A change may happen so suddenly that you do not have time to ask the court to modify the current child support order before you start falling behind on payments. In this case, it is critical that you have a valid reason for failing to meet the child support obligation. You must also have strong evidence that supports your case.
For example, after being laid off, you should bring to the hearing any notices or letters that show why your employer let you go. You must also show that you have not collected unemployment benefits, as you can use these to make child support payments. If you are currently looking for a new job, you should gather evidence that supports this claim as well, such as the companies you have applied to, and bring these to the hearing.
Explain Why You Did Not Pursue a Child Support Modification
In Pennsylvania, you can ask the court for a child support modification if you cannot make payments on time. At the hearing, you will have to explain why you did not pursue a legal child support modification. For example, if you became very sick and that prevented you from taking legal action, this can serve as a valid reason for failing to ask the court for a modification.
Our Child Support Lawyer in Media Can Help with Your Case
If it is no longer possible for you to make payments, our Media child support lawyer at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates can help. Our seasoned attorney can advise on the important evidence to collect and will represent you in court to help you avoid the harshest of consequences. Call us today at 610-565-6100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to get the legal help you need.