Pennsylvania law is very clear on the obligations that parents have to provide financial support to their children. There are repercussions for failure to do so, and many parents who have fallen into financial difficulty are fearful of becoming subject to these punitive measures. However, there are legal avenues available that can assist parents who cannot meet their child support obligations. One recent story serves as an example of how not to handle the issue.
A 30-year-old Pennsylvania resident was recently stopped by police under suspicion of driving with an expired inspection sticker. Instead of waiting for the officer to approach, the man fled the scene on foot. He then jumped into a nearby river in an attempt to elude police.
Authorities were able to talk the man into emerging from the body of water by pointing out that he could easily drown. He safely exited the water without assistance or injury. Once back on land, he told police that he fled in order to avoid arrest for failure to pay child support. In the end, he was arrested for a range of other charges, including fleeing from police and driving with an expired inspection. He was then jailed on the child support warrant.
Parents who are in a situation of severe financial hardship and who can demonstrate an inability to meet their child support obligations have options for assistance. It is possible to approach a Pennsylvania court and ask for a modification in the existing payment amount, or pursue a temporary hold on payment obligations while the parent regains financial stability. As this case demonstrates, running from the problem is never the best solution, and can further complicate one's legal troubles.
Source: NBC10 Philadelphia, "Man Wanted for Child Support Jumps in River," David Chang, April 27, 2013