Past Due Child Support Can Impact Settlements

Recipients of workers' compensation awards, personal injury settlements and other insurance payouts should be advised of a new requirement in the law. A newly enacted part of the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Code will enforce obligations of parents who have not lived up to their duty to provide financial support to their minor children.

As of September 2006, the law enables the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to intercept lump sum monetary awards and insurance settlements, deduct any overdue child support payments, and pay them appropriately. Lawyers handling workers' compensation and similar claims are now under a legal obligation to research the records of the Department of Public Welfare to determine if any delinquent amounts must be withheld from the settlement.

This new provision will apply to all persons who receive net proceeds exceeding $5,000.