Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Apr 10, 2011

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Following a separation or divorce, often the next step is determining and collecting the noncustodial parent’s share of child support. This is where child support garnishment law in Pennsylvania enters the picture. Wage garnishment in Pennsylvania is similar to wage garnishment laws in many other states. To ensure that the appropriate amount of child support is collected, a Pennsylvania court or agency will serve an order on the noncustodial parent’s employer or administrator of other income. The employer or administrator will then remit payment to the appropriate agency, typically the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU). The following information will help guide you through the basics of Pennsylvania wage garnishment law.

Pennsylvania Child Support Collection

In most cases of divorcing parents, a Pennsylvania court or agency will issue an order of support to provide for the support and maintenance of the child. Orders of support may also be made for children who have reached the age of majority if the child lives and is being supported by the custodial parent. Support and maintenance includes, but is not limited to, monetary support, health care expenses, arrearages, or reimbursement. Additionally, an order of support can include related costs and fees, interest and penalties, attorneys’ fees, and other relief.

Who Withholds the Money

Both an employer and an administrator of other income are bound by law to enforce support orders they receive through service. An employer is defined as an individual, partnership, association, corporation, trust, federal agency, Pennsylvania agency, or political subdivision obligated to pay the employee income. An administrator is in charge of other sources of income, and includes, but is not limited to, pension funds, third-party sick pay insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

When is Money Withheld

An employer must remit payment to the agency within seven working days of the employee’s payday, regardless of how often they withhold support. This means that the employer is not allowed to accumulate deductions and send them in monthly. An employer should send payments to the centralized disbursement unit of Pennsylvania, the State Collection and Disbursement Unit. These payments may be made by check, money order, or electronic funds transfer (EFT). If an employer has fifteen or more employees, and more than one employee is subject to a support order, the payments must be remitted electronically.

Out-of-State Orders

Pennsylvania complies with the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This means that an employer in Pennsylvania must honor any support order it receives from another state. The payments for out-of-state orders should be remitted to the agency listed on the order.