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What to Do if You Cannot Afford Child Support in PA?

May 1, 2019

If you cannot afford child support in Pennsylvania, you are not alone. According to findings published in Verywell Family, 7,256,00 custodial parents expected child support during the year of the study. However, less than half — 45.3% — of all recipients received the full amount. For most of those individuals, there is a good underlying reason for the missed payments, a reason that warrants the reexamination of the support order. If this is the case with you, the publication details what you should do when you cannot afford child support payments.

The worst thing you can do is nothing. If you cannot afford to pay your monthly support amount, contact the PA Child Support Enforcement Office. The office will tell you where and how to file a formal motion requesting a modification. You should list your reason for the modification as a change in circumstances.

A changed circumstance must be drastic and permanent for the courts to recognize it as a valid reason to reduce your monthly payment amount. The change must also have been involuntary (for instance, the courts will not approve your request if you quit your job and sought out a lesser paying one for the purposes of paying less in support). Some examples of circumstances that may necessitate a child support modification include the following:

  • Unemployment

  • Reduction in income

  • Accrued medical expenses

  • Added costs associated with child rearing

It is essential for your own protection to get the courts to formally modify the order. The courts are unlikely to recognize any other type of agreement, such as an oral agreement between you and your child’s other parent.

This article is for educational purposes only. You should not construe it as legal advice.