Berman & Asbel, LLP

The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act

Pennsylvania parents who receive or are required to pay child support should be aware of the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, or DPPA. Created in 1998, it is a federal child support law that targets individuals who purposely try to avoid making child support payments by relocating to another state.

Parents who travel to another state with the express purpose of avoiding paying child support, fail to make payments for more than a year and are in arrears for more than $5,000 are subject to punishment by the DPPA. The same goes for those who relocate to other states to get out of paying what they owe, have not made payments for over two years and are delinquent for $10,000.

Parents who are found guilty under DPPA may be punished with incarceration for no more than six months if it is their first offense. Those who are convicted a second time can be imprisoned for up to two years. In both instances, the court may compel the guilty parties to pay all the child support payments that are in arrears.

Parents who are interested in filing child support cases using DPPA should speak with a family law attorney. Some of the places DPPA cases can be heard include any federal court and the state where the child resides, child support payments have not been made or parent has resided.

A family law attorney may assist clients with resolving a variety of child support issues, which can include attempting to collect delinquent payments and requesting child support modifications for changes in financial circumstances. A lawyer may advise his or her clients about the available legal avenues they can pursue to receive their payments.

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