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Pennsylvania child support: Man owes close to $1 million

Child support can be a source of contention between separated or divorced Pennsylvania families. However, what if the spouse or ex-partner flees the country in order to avoid the court-ordered payments? One woman has been living a nightmare for almost two decades. After her husband was ordered by the courts to pay her close to $1,000 per week in child support, he suddenly stopped paying and soon fled the country.

The man was gone for close to 20 years, but he was apprehended by authorities when he landed back in the states on a plane from the Philippines. His ex-wife initially wanted to see him in prison but has had time to reconsider the wisdom of that wish. Now, she only wants him to work and make an effort to repay the massive amount of money he owes to her for the benefit of their children.

The man brought in a comfortable income, but after the divorce, he only paid two years in child support. He remarried and had another child, though divorced again, adding an additional child support obligation. However, when a New York arrest warrant was issued for him, he was said to have left the country and continued on the run for many years. He now faces up to a four year prison sentence, but indications are that he may receive probation under the condition he begins to make payments.

The man's ex-wife has no delusions of receiving the money in a lump sum. Her daughters are now grown, and she supported them by working retail as they grew up, though she now only wants to receive the money she says she is owed. Pennsylvania parents in a similar situation can seek legal help. Understanding one's rights could result in parents receiving money they are owed from parents trying to avoid their legal child support obligations. For those owing money they cannot afford to pay, courts will consider requests for a downward modification of future payments based upon a showing of a substantial change in financial circumstances.

Source: The New York Times, "Top Deadbeat Parent Is Arrested but May Avoid Prison," Mosi Secret, Dec. 30, 2012

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