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Pennsylvania child support: A woman's battle for support

One of the most important jobs that parents do is support their children financially -- making sure they are clothed, fed and otherwise taken care of. When a child support order is issued in a divorce case, it is not done to punish the noncustodial parent, but to help the children. Unfortunately, there are many Pennsylvania parents who either don't have the ability to pay or refuse to pay to support their children.

When that happens, withholding orders can be sent to an employer or other payor of the noncustodial parent. That entity or person is then required by law to deduct the amount of support ordered from any payments given to the non-paying party. Most, if not all, companies have provisions for dealing with these withholding orders.

However, what happens is a payor refuses to abide by the order? This is what happened to one woman. She has been in a years long battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois over a withholding order they say they are not obligated to follow. The woman's ex-husband is a chiropractor that receives insurance payments from Blue Cross. Blue Cross continues to insist that it is not a payor. An appellate court disagrees, saying that the statute doesn't specify that a payor has to be an employer, and insurance proceeds count.

In the meantime, her ex-husband is blaming Blue Cross for the fact that he is behind on his child support. As would be the case here in Pennsylvania, the court's order establishing his financial obligation to his children does not make his payments contingent on whether Blue Cross abides by the withholding order. It is up to him as the father of the children to support them financially, and he is still required to make payments regardless of the outcome of his ex-wife's litigation with Blue Cross.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Woman in battle with Blue Cross over child support, Lisa Black, Sept. 1, 2013

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