How do I file for Child Support?

A person seeking support for a minor child must file a complaint for support at the Domestic Relations Section of your county court house.

Does child support include anything besides money?

Yes. Support usually includes providing medical coverage for the children, payment of unreimbursed medical expenses, and contributions to day care or babysitting costs for the children while the custodial parent is working or going to school.

Does my obligation to pay child support ever end?

Yes. Parents are generally not obligated to pay child support after the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, which ever occurs last. However, the duty of support continues after age 18 if the child is unable to support himself or herself because of a physical, mental or emotional disability.

Can a support order ever be changed?

Yes. Either party may request an increase or decrease in the amount of support. If you want to change the support amount, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the most recent order was entered. For example, if one parent gets a raise in salary, or changes jobs, or gets laid off from work, or works a second job, there is a change of circumstances. The Pennsylvania support guidelines were revised in April, 1999. If your support order was entered before April of 1999, the new guidelines are a reason to ask the court to modify your order.

What happens if I don't pay the support under the order?

The support can be automatically deducted from your wages under a wage attachment. Also, the court may enter a judgment against the non-paying parent for the total amount of past due support. This judgment would appear on your credit record, so it might be difficult to get credit, rent an apartment, or buy a car or a house. Failure to obey the court order could result in suspension of your driver’s license, an IRS intercept of your tax refund, and jail for the non-paying parent.

What if the parent paying support changes jobs or moves away?

Most states will enforce a child support order from another state. The federal government can help locate a parent who hides his or her whereabouts. If the paying parent changes jobs, he or she is required to notify the Domestic Relations office.

Do I have to pay support if my ex won't let me see the kids?

Yes. Refusing to pay support for any reason will only result in legal action to enforce the support order. If one parent is denying the other parent access to the children, that parent has the right to go to court to establish or enforce custody rights. However, that is a separate proceeding from support