Berman & Asbel, LLP

Visitation while owing child support

Many Pennsylvania parents understand just how important it is for both parents to be involved in their children's lives. However, a study showed that noncustodial fathers who were behind on their child support payments visited their children less often.

When noncustodial parents are in arrears, there are potential civil and criminal penalties that they may face. In addition to potential jail sentences and fines, they could also have their driver's license and even professional licenses revoked or suspended. The children also often suffer as the costs of housing, clothing and food completely fall on the custodial parent.

Ultimately, the study found that approximately 30 percent of the more than 1,000 noncustodial fathers studied were in arrears. The average amount that was owed was more than $7,000. The study also found that noncustodial fathers who were behind on their child support payments actually worked less than parents who were no in arrears. Further, these parents were less likely to see their children or be involved in their daily lives, like help with homework or even play. Noncustodial parents who are in arrears are also less likely to provide in-kind support, like toys, clothing and medicine.

If a custodial parent does not receive the child support that is owed, there are several tactics a family law attorney can use. If there is evidence that the noncustodial parent can pay the child support but simply refuses to do so, the attorney may go to court to request that the child support order be enforced. Some of the measures that might be available include wage garnishment and tax refund seizure.

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