How Do I Begin to Collect or Modify Child Support in Pennsylvania?
A person seeking child support must file a Support Complaint with the Pennsylvania family court in order to establish a right to collect Pennsylvania child support. No legal obligation on the other parent exists until the complaint is filed with the family court. Similarly, if a reason exists to modify a child support order such as an increase or decrease in income of either parent, the parent must file a request for a hearing to determine if modification of the support order is appropriate. Until a petition for modification is filed with the family court and a new court order is entered, the parent paying support is required to continue making payments as outlined in the existing support court order.
Enforcement of Pennsylvania Child Support Orders
If the parent who is required to pay child support has failed to comply with the order of court, the non-support case will be heard by a judge and that parent may be held in contempt. A parent must be found to have the present ability to pay and refused to do so prior to being found in contempt for non-payment of child support. After being found in contempt, there are numerous enforcement remedies available to secure payment of past due child support (also called support arrearages). These enforcement remedies include, among others, incarceration of the non-paying parent, suspension of driver's licenses, revocation of any other state-issued licenses including professional licenses, liens placed against bank accounts, withholding of federal or state tax refunds and imposition of attorney fees. The Allegheny County Sheriff's Department maintains a list on their website of the most serious cases of non-support and the names and photos of the Allegheny County deadbeat parents.
Duty to Report Changes of Income
There have been a number of Pennsylvania appellate cases involving the failure of a parent or spouse to report changes (generally increases) in income as the changes have occurred. The law clearly indicates that there is a duty to report an increase in income and if either party to a support action fails to report the change in income, there can be a retroactive modification of the support order to the date the change initially happened and an adjustment of the support order back to that date. The retroactive modification of support and recalculation of the support order generally results in significant arrearages (underpayment of support) and triggers aggressive enforcement actions.
Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Offices
If you have an existing child support case and need to inquire whether payment has been made or received, you can contact the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Office in the county where the child support order was entered by the court or telephone the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU) at 1-877-676-9580.
Contact Our Pittsburgh Child Support Enforcement & Modification Attorneys Today
Our Pittsburgh child support lawyers have represented hundreds of parents seeking to obtain a fair child support order. Email our Allegheny County child support attorneys to learn how we can help you with your PA child support modification or contempt issue.
You can also call our PA child support law firm in Pittsburgh at 412-281-9906, Southpointe (Canonsburg, Washington County) at 724-436-5500, Cranberry Township (Butler County, PA) at 724-776-9906 or toll-free at 1-855-VARI-LAW (1-855-827-4529).
Our Pittsburgh and Southpointe law offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and evenings by appointment. Our Cranberry Township office is open by appointment only. We're different from many other Pittsburgh child support lawyers, click here to learn why.
Appointments may also be available in other meeting locations throughout Western Pennsylvania upon advance arrangements with our office. Ask the secretary scheduling your appointment for details including appointment locations.
Our Western PA family law office routinely accepts child support cases in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Our Pittsburgh child support attorneys accept support cases in other Western PA counties such as Armstrong County, Erie County, Fayette County, Greene County, Somerset County and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.
Click the following link to learn more about Pennsylvania child support laws.