Child Support Law

Child Support Law Pittsburgh, PA

Child Support LawChild Support
The Pennsylvania child support guidelines are established to ensure that children receive the same amount of support that he or she would have enjoyed if the parents were living together. The amount is based on the needs of the child and the ability of the non-custodial parent to pay. The amount is also based on the earning capacities of the parents and allows for additional support in extraordinary circumstances.

In Pennsylvania the County Domestic Relations Section (DRS), an arm of the Court of Common Pleas, oversees the process. A DRS worker assists the parent in applying for a support order. It is prudent to arrange support through the DRS. All too often, arrangements made between the parties without the DRS may be inequitable and unenforceable, and lead to problems between the parties that could otherwise have been avoided. The DRS also oversees spousal support. It is a good idea to contact an attorney for advice when applying for support.

If the non-custodial parent lives in another county, out of state, or out of the United States the DRS will assist with information and address ways to secure support.

When child support is sought, a Complaint must be filed.  Unmarried mothers need to provide the DRS with proof of paternity.  The DRS will schedule a support conference and notify the parties involved of the time. Support begins from the time the Complaint is filed. If the location of the non-custodial parent is unknown, the DRS refers the case to the parent locator service. Support continues until the child is eighteen or graduates from high school. A judge may order otherwise.

Both parents should go to the conference with pertinent information regarding income, assets, fixed expenses and any extraordinary circumstances regarding the needs of the child.  Pennsylvania has a detailed formula for determining the amount of support each parent should contribute. A support officer will determine the amount of the court order, decide the time each parent will spend with the child. The support order can be appealed.   In some counties the appeal may be heard by an attorney, in others by a judge.

If a parent’s financial or health circumstances change, or the child incurs significant medical or other necessary expenses, or is no longer living with the custodial parent, the order may be reviewed. Parents will normally receive a notice every three years that they may request a review of their order.

The Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES) monitors payments and enforces support orders.

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