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Tag Archives: unpaid child support


Unemployment Compensation and Support Orders in Today’s Economy

Unemployment Compensation and Support Orders


It is often an unexpected event that many may face but few are prepared to endure.  In some circumstances, a portion of one’s income can be recouped by applying for and receiving unemployment compensation.  Unemployment and the loss of one’s normal income can be stressful.  That stress is further compounded if you currently have a support obligation that you are ordered to pay.

If you have a support obligation in place for either spousal, APL and/or child support, your unemployment compensation will be impacted by this obligation.  It is important to understand that unemployment compensation is considered income.  Any support order that is initiated by the County Courts of Common Pleas will affect a person’s unemployment compensation.  The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law requires the Department of Labor and Industry to deduct support obligations from the unemployment compensation that one receives.

However, there may be relief available.  If you currently pay a form of support to another and find yourself unemployed, through no fault of your own, this may be considered a substantial change in circumstances.  When a person experiences a substantial change in circumstances that render the current support obligation difficult, or even impossible to maintain, it is very important to ask the court for relief.  This can be accomplished by filing a Petition to Modify Support.  A Petition to Modify Support lets the court know that you are not ignoring your obligation, but rather you are experiencing a temporary hardship.  Even if you know that your filing may not result in a conference or hearing date in the immediate future, you must file this petition.  A Petition to Modify Support will act as safeguard against a claim of contempt, or a potential enforcement proceeding.  In addition, your date of filing will be important because if you are granted a modification, which can result in lowering your monthly support payment, your filing date becomes the effective date.

As with any financial or legal situation that you may find yourself in, it is best to address it as soon as possible.  Get in contact with an experienced family law attorney in your area that can walk you through the steps and file the necessary paperwork.  There are always remedies available, but you must take the affirmative step to seek them.

unpaid child support

Can a Parent Withhold Visitation for Unpaid Child Support?

Unpaid child support can be a significant problem. In the final analysis, unpaid child support threatens the wellbeing of children. Oftentimes, the custodial parent who is to receive child support payments on behalf of children needs to take action to enforce an existing court order.

A common thought of a custodial parent is to withhold visitation or parenting time until the noncustodial parent addresses the matter of unpaid child support. The theory is that if the noncustodial parent is not honoring an existing child support order, that individual should not be permitted to enjoy visitation or parenting time with the children.

On its face, there seems to be an air of logic to withholding visitation for unpaid child support. In reality, such a tactic is not legally permissible.

Unpaid Child Support and Visitation: Separate Issues

According to Pennsylvania family law, unpaid child support and visitation and separate and distinct legal matters. They are not connected and do not become so in a situation in which unpaid child support exists. Conversely, if the custodial parent withholds visitation, the noncustodial parent cannot in turn stop paying child support.

Divorced parents need to understand what is in the best interests of children. Complying with a child support order is in the best interests of children. Moreover, regular visitation or parenting time is in the best interests of children.

Remedies for Unpaid Child Support

Pennsylvania law provides a variety of avenues through which a custodial parent can seek enforcement of a child support order. These include everything from seeking enforcement of a child support order in court to engaging the assistance of a child support enforcement agency. What these remedies do not include is what is known as “self-help.”

Self-help occurs when a parent takes matters into his or her own hands when it comes to unpaid child support. Withholding visitation in light of unpaid child support is an example of impermissible self-help.

Legal Representation

The best way to ensure matters like unpaid child support are appropriately and quickly addressed is to engage the services of an experienced child support attorney. Taking a proactive approach in regard to unpaid child support best ensures that the arrearage doesn’t pile up unnecessarily.

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