Detailed Guide to Child Support in Pennsylvania
February 24, 2023

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, both parents have a duty to financially support their child, no matter the marital or relationship circumstances. Child support refers to a court-ordered payment, typically given by the non-custodial parent to the custodial one, intended to help in raising a child.

Many parents search for an answer to the question, “How does child support work?” Read on to learn more.

How Is Child Support Calculated In PA?

The amount is calculated based on the joint incomes of the two parents. The amount each is expected to contribute to raising the child depends on the percentage that they contribute to the joint amount.

Pennsylvania’s laws can give limited leeway in the final calculation based on factors like the parents’ relative assets and liabilities, the child’s standard of living, and other familial obligations. However, in most cases, a strict formula is followed.

The laws can be complicated, but a family law attorney can help answer “How is child support calculated in PA,” in more detail.

How Does Child Support Work In PA?

After a request for support is filed, both parents will be required to submit proof of income in the form of pay stubs and tax returns. What’s called a “conference” will be scheduled to determine the amount of support.

The Conference Officer is not a judge or lawyer but, instead, a County employee trained in the child support guidelines who can calculate the amount of child support based on the State’s guidelines.

After the Conference Officer calculates the child support amount and prepares an Order for a judge to sign, the parties will have 20 days to appeal. The appeal may be heard by a judge or a special master, depending on the county.

Once a support order is in place, the parent responsible for payments, or the “obligor,” is required to pay on or before a certain day of the month. This is true even if unforeseen expenses arise for the obligor.

If you have trouble collecting from the obligor, you should contact the Pennsylvania Child Support Program right away. The court can order that the obligor’s wages be garnished or that their tax refunds be seized.

How Much Does It Cost to File For Child Support In Pennsylvania?

The fee to file a new court case in PA is $40.25. The Domestic Relations Section will add this fee to the obligor’s debt, so there is no upfront cost for you to file.

Do I Have to Go Through the PA Child Support Process?

A child support arrangement is not required in Pennsylvania. Parties are free to make their own arrangements outside of court or to drop a previous court-ordered arrangement if they both agree. However, the court will not enforce these outside arrangements.

If you have an informal arrangement that breaks down, you will also not be entitled to child support before the day you file. Any back support payments will only go back to the date of filing.

What Can a Child Support Lawyer Do for Me?

A child support lawyer can assist you with every step of the process, from filing a case in a timely manner, representing you at a conference or hearing, and enforcing any support order.

If you’re contemplating divorce or need assistance getting your children the support they need, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Daley Zucker.

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