Berman & Asbel, LLP

Child support obligations for both parents

Pennsylvania unwed mothers-to-be should act quickly to establish paternity. This will ensure that their child begins receiving support from the father as soon as possible. The Pennsylvania Child Support Program may be able to assist in this regard.

Not paying child support can lead to serious repercussions. A parent's wages or tax refund may be garnished. A lien may be placed on their property, they could lose their driver's license, and in severe cases, they might even go to jail. Both mothers and fathers are responsible for supporting a child, married or not, and either might face enforcement if they do not meet their court-ordered obligations. However, it may be more difficult to enforce child support payments if they are not made through a child support office. Making payments through these official channels is also important because it creates a record of those payments.

If a parent's income changes, they must seek an order modification through the court having jurisdiction. They cannot simply reduce the amount of child support they are paying, and they will continue to owe that amount until a court orders a change.

Issues around custody, support and visitation can often create tension between parents, but they should make an effort to not let it spill over into their relationship with their children. Parents may be able to work with their respective attorneys to negotiate an arrangement that they feel is fair. As with child support, if a change in the parenting plan is needed, it should be done through legal channels. This helps to protect both parents and children. If parents are unable to come to an agreement through negotiation or mediation, then litigation might be necessary.

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