Loss of Employment and Support Obligations in Pennsylvania

July 17, 2020

Generally, in Pennsylvania, if a parent has a child support obligation, it is memorialized in a Court Order through the State Child Support system, or PACSES. This Court Order (“Order”) is in writing and becomes the obligation of the paying party (the Obligor) to make regular payments to the party receiving child support (the “Obligee”).

What is the Child Support Payment Process in PA?

In most cases, this child support obligation is a direct deduction, or garnishment, from the wages of the Obligor.

This payment is forwarded by the Obligor’s employer directly to PACSES, which processes this payment, and forwards the payment to the Obligee, either in the form of a payment to a debit card, called an “EPPI” card, or an electronic payment to a checking, savings or other account. PACSES keeps track of the obligations of the Obligor and the payments received by the Obligee.

As long as payments are garnished from the Obligor’s pay and received by the Obligee, there generally is no issue causing any unhappiness. However, what happens when the Obligor no longer is employed? In this case, there are no wages to be garnished. Unless the Obligor voluntarily sends the payments required to PACSES, the Obligor will begin accruing arrears in the support obligation. This can lead to the Court beginning actions to collect these arrears, and eventually, a Contempt proceeding being instituted. How can this best be resolved?

Resolving Complex Support Obligations Without Court

Through the Collaborative process, specially trained professionals can be retained by the parties, to discuss the situation, exchange information and documents, calculate the obligations of the Obligor and the needs of the Obligee, and attempt to amicably and peacefully resolve this unfortunate situation.

The Collaborative Process is an alternative process to going to Court. This process is much faster, less expensive and far more peaceful and respectful, than an in-Court proceeding. Often, individual issues, such as a Support obligation, can be resolved in one or two sessions. A new Agreement is reached, it is put in an appropriate written form, and filed with the Court. This avoids appearing in Court, in front of a Judge or other Court professional and permits the parties to arrive at a new arrangement between themselves. Parties who arrive at their own agreements are generally more likely to abide by them and are happier with their agreements.

Peacefully Modify Your Child Support Obligation

Simply put, arriving at your own Agreement is far more preferable to having a Judge, who spends a relatively short period of time with you before issuing a Court Order, effectively telling you what the Support obligations will be. In the Collaborative Process, the parties discuss and decide these matters; there is no third party deciding this issue.

Losing one’s employment, or one’s Support payment, is stressful enough. Collaborative reduces this stress and allows a peaceful and calm resolution, on your terms.

About Lee A. Schwartz, Esq.

Lee A. Schwartz, Esquire practices Collaborative Law and Mediation in the area of Family Law in the five-county Philadelphia area, with over thirty years of experience. He is the owner of Peaceful Separation and Divorce in Philadelphia and has been engaged by attorneys to arbitrate Custody related disputes for their clients.
Learn more about Lee A. Schwartz, Esq.