Child support reminder: public shaming or convenient option?

When it comes to a child support order, many details are outlined, such as means of payment and action, that may be taken if a payment is late or not made at all. Pennsylvania parents may have a plan for letting the other parent know he or she is late or may have outlined specific consequences if a payment is not made. One state has taken up the cause of reminding parents they owe child support through the delivery of a post card. That method has drawn some ire from some parents.

One parent in particular has voiced his dislike of the post card that comes in the mail to his house. The post card has the parent’s name on it and asks the question as to whether or not that parent has paid for the month. The parent says this method is an invasion of privacy and essentially calls out non-custodial parents publicly.

The state believes the post cards are a much better way to inspire parents to pay rather than more harsh consequences such as confiscation of a driver’s license or garnishment of wages. The state also feels the post card is not an invasion of a parent’s privacy primarily because there are no amounts listed or financial information at all. The state’s position also implores people to consider the impact of child support on the child’s life and the strain created when that support is not met, which can mean more children living below the poverty level.

Child support orders can be complex and very detailed. One area of contention may be what action is to be taken if payment is late or skipped. Pennsylvania parents may want to decide those details in the child support order or work with a legal representative to outline at what point the other parent is to be contacted and how that contact will take place.

Source:, “Dad ‘Shocked’ and ‘Embarrassed’ by Child Support Postcard“, Esther Crain, Aug. 17