Child Support Enforcement Measures
What happens if I don't pay?
If you do not pay your child support, the DRS may order an automatic wage withholding or use one or more of the following enforcement measures:
- Federal and state tax refund offset program: Your federal and state income tax refunds can be taken if you owe overdue child support.
- Financial institution date match: The court can order financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, to turn over your financial assets to pay your overdue support.
- Work requirements: You can be ordered by the court to work or join an employment program.
- Credit bureau reporting: If you are late in paying support, your name and the amount of back support you owe will be reported to the major credit bureaus.
- License suspension: If you owe at least 3 months of support and a court has not ordered income withholding, you may have the following licenses suspended, denied or not renewed:
- Driver's license
- Commercial driver's license
- Professional or occupational license
- Fishing and/or hunting license
- Passport denial: The United States Department of State can deny the issuance or renewal of a passport if you have child support arrears over $2,500.
- Lottery intercept: Your lottery winnings of $2,500 or more can be taken if you owe overdue child support.
- Intercept of workers compensation and lump sum personal injury payment: The amount of overdue child support you owe may be taken from your settlement or benefits.
- Fine or prison: The federal government funds Project Save Our Children task force, a federal multi-agency law enforcement initiative which investigates and prosecutes the most flagrant child support cases. Federal law makes it a crime if you owe more than $5,000 of child support for longer than a year, and you do not pay the child support for a child who lives in another state. If you are convicted, the court will order repayment of the unpaid support. In addition, you can be fined and/or put in prison for up to two years.
- Publication of name: Your name may be published in the newspaper if you are at least 30 days late in paying child support.
- Liens on real estate: Your overdue support automatically becomes a lien against all real estate that you own in Pennsylvania.
For Your Information
The above information describes actions a DRS may take to enforce a child support order. Each child support case has individual differences that may require special attention by a qualified professional at the DRS. If you have questions about your case or want more information about any of the enforcement measures described above, contact the DRS that handles your case. DRS telephone numbers are located in the resource and phone number section of this website. Other numbers are available on the child support website at www.childsupport.state.pa.us.