One of the most commonly asked questions about child support in Pennsylvania is how to get started in applying for it. Only those who are custodial parents, primary caregivers, or has the custody and control of a dependent child can apply. Additionally, attorneys can apply for their clients who fit this criteria. Applications can be filed at any time as long as the child is still living with the custodial parent and the divorce settlement has been finalized. If there was a child but no marriage, or if the non-custodial parent does not live in Pennsylvania, then the PA Child Support Program can assist you in this, too.
How to Apply For Child Support in Pennsylvania
There are a few ways that you can apply for child support in Oregon. You can apply by mail by printing out, signing and dating the application for Child or Spousal Support form: http://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/CSWS/forms/CS_IN001_E.pdf
Additional forms will be required and can be found on this website: http://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/
Receiving Child Support in Pennsylvania
Once you have filed the appropriate forms it can take up to 4 weeks or more for processing. If there are discrepancies or there is a formal debate ongoing about the amounts, then it could take longer. As a general rule of thumb, however, the Pennsylvania Support Guideline determines the amount that the non-custodial parent will pay. It will also take into account the standard of living that the child enjoyed prior to the divorce, and will make considerations in other areas such as educational expenses, extracurricular activities, daycare, and transportation. Medical expenses, in part or in full, will also be the responsibility (generally speaking) of the non-custodial parent.
Funds are generally disbursed either via direct deposit from the agency (your former spouse pays them, then they pay you), or they can deposit the funds onto a Visa debit card established exclusively for this payment.
Failure to Pay Child Support
If for some reason the non-custodial parent thinks that the amount determined by the courts is too putative or beyond reason, then they can file for a modification of the court order. From all reports, this does not often result in an actual modification taking place. The burden of proof falls to the petitioner who must prove that his/her circumstances are dramatically impacted due to the payments. Voluntarily declaring bankruptcy, leaving the state or country, purposely taking a lower paying job, are all viewed dimly by the state and criminal complaints will be filed. Failure to pay court ordered child support can impact the non-custodial parent greatly and can result in things from a suspension of their driver’s license, to withholding of lottery winnings and tax refunds, to garnishment of wages. Before the court order is signed, sealed, and delivered the first time take the time to make sure that the amounts are agreeable to all parties and workable. If the two parents both agree to a change in the payments, then it must be made legal in order for it to be binding. Appropriate forms can be located on the PA Child Support website: http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/