Sunday, December 16, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

 

MUST I RECEIVE SUPPORT THROUGH DOMESTIC RELATIONS? 
No.  Parties may enter into a private support agreement and pay directly between the parties.  However, Domestic Relations will not be able to retroactively enforce Orders or agreements that were not administered through the office.  If you are a recipient of DPW cash assistance, you are obligated to file for support through Domestic Relations.

 

WHAT IS NECESSARY TO FILE FOR SUPPORT? 
The name, date of birth, social security number and current address and employer for both parties.  Names, dates of birth, social security numbers for all children for whom you are requesting support.  If this is a paternity action, the child's city and state of birth is also necessary.

 


IF I DO NOT KNOW THE DEFENDANT'S ADDRESS, CAN I STILL FILE FOR SUPPORT?
 
No.  We must have an address to be able to serve the Petition for Support/Paternity.  You may, however, apply for Locate Service through this office.  Through state and federal agencies we may be able to locate the party as long as we have a proper name, date of birth and social security number.

 


CAN I FILE FOR PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT ONLY?
 
Yes.  If you file for paternity establishment, you are not obligated to request support through this office unless you are a recipient of DPW cash assistance.

 


DO I HAVE TO HAVE A LEGAL SEPARATION AGREEMENT BEFORE I FILE FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT THROUGH DOMESTIC RELATIONS?
 
No.  Questions regarding entitlement should be addressed by your attorney.

 


IF THE MINOR CHILD IS LIVING WITH ME BUT THE CUSTODY AGREEMENT/ORDER STATES THE OTHER PARENT HAS CUSTODY, CAN I STILL FILE FOR SUPPORT?
 
Yes.  If the minor child physically resides in your home, you may file for support.

 


CAN DOMESTIC RELATIONS HELP WITH CUSTODY OR VISITATION PROBLEMS AND/OR QUESTIONS?
 
No.  Domestic Relations is a support establishment and collection agency only.

 


CAN I AS THE NON-CUSTODIAL PARENT FILE TO HAVE MY SUPPORT PAID THROUGH DOMESTIC RELATION? 
Yes.  You can file a Petition requesting support be established and paid through Domestic Relations.

 


HOW IS SUPPORT DETERMINED? 

The amount of support is determined per the PA Support Guidelines outlined in the PA rules of Court.  The support guidelines set forth the amount of support a parent or spouse should pay on the basis of both parties net monthly income.

 


AM I THE PLAINTIFF OR THE DEFENDANT? 
If you are requesting to receive child support, you are the Plaintiff/Petitioner.  If you pay child support, you are the Defendant/Respondent.

 


HOW WILL SUPPORT BE PAID? 
All payments will be sent and processed by SCDU (Pennsylvania's Statewide Collection and Disbursement Unit).  Once payments are received by SCDU, they are processed and disbursed to either the Petitioner’s (person receiving support) bank account or the EPPICard.  You are advised and obligated to report any change of address immediately to the Domestic Relations Office. Failure to report a change of address may result in case closure.  You can access your case financial information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling the SCDU IVR at 1-877-PAS-SCDU (1-877-727-7238), or at www.childsupport.state.pa.us/
Current and prior payments are available on this website along with support order information.

 


HOW LONG BEFORE I START GETTING PAYMENTS?
 
Payments will begin after your support conference/hearing is conducted.  In most instances, the conference or hearing will be held within 4 to 6 weeks of filing your petition.

 


CAN I RECEIVE DIRECT PAYMENTS? 

No.  If you choose to accept direct payments, your case may be suspended.  We are unable to enforce a Court Order if we have no knowledge of payments.  You may only accept direct payments (if you are not on public assistance) prior to your support conference or hearing.

 


IS THERE A COST TO OPEN A CASE THROUGH DOMESTIC RELATIONS? 
A $52.00 one time filing fee is charged on each case.  This is the Prothonotary docketing fee.  Should your Complaint be dismissed or withdrawn, you will be responsible to pay this fee within 30 days of the order for dismissal.  Otherwise, the defendant (obligor) must pay this fee.

 


WHO PAYS MEDICAL EXPENSES? 
Unless you have a prior property settlement or divorce agreement, medical expenses will be covered at your conference or hearing and will be addressed in your Court Order.  If your children are currently covered under an insurance plan please bring the cards and/or relevant insurance information with you to your conference or hearing.

 


WILL THE DEFENDANT GO TO JAIL IF HE/SHE FAILS TO PAY SUPPORT?
 
Not necessarily.  Failure to pay support may result in this office petitioning the court for Contempt.  It is ultimately the Judge's decision to order jail time for non-payment.

 


IS IT NECESSARY TO HAVE AN ATTORNEY? 
This decision is up to each individual.  Limited legal services can be available to qualified plaintiffs by writing the Domestic Relations Office.  A list of attorneys who accept clients on a sliding fee scale is available at the Domestic Relations Office.

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Last Updated: 4/30/2015 10:08 AM
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