Child Support in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA, Child Support Attorney - Child Support Lawyer - Allegheny Co.
Our lawyers handle all conferences, hearings, complex hearings, and contempt matters in Allegheny County and the surrounding areas. We can represent you in a new support case or modification of an existing order regardless of whether you are the plaintiff or defendant in the action.
If you are a single parent raising a child in Pittsburgh, you are entitled to receive child support. If you are married but living separate from your spouse, you are entitled to support. Whether you're employed, unemployed or disabled; even if you earn enough to make ends meet, PA law provides a framework for a custodial parent to receive financial assistance from the other parent.
Law Offices of Scott L. Levine, LLC
425 1st Ave - 6th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Pennsylvania says that a child is entitled to support from both parents. If you have primary custody or shared custody but earn less than the other parent, you can obtain child support. Filing for support in PA is free, and you don't need a lawyer to file.
You don't need a lawyer to handle your child support case, but if you choose to hire one, we handle child support conferences, hearings, and complex hearings throughout Allegheny County and can help you to navigate through the process.
Filing for Child Support
Any parent seeking child support through the court may initiate the process by filing a complaint for child support. Child support may also be requested in a divorce complaint. Thereafter, a child support conference and/or child support hearing will be scheduled, during which the parties will go to the family court facility to formally address the support amount.
To file for child support (if you live in Allegheny County), you can go to the main child support office downtown in the Allegheny Building at 429 Forbes Avenue. The support office is located in Suite 210 and is open Monday - Friday from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm. You can also file for support downtown at "night court" every Wednesday between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm in Family Court Building located at 440 Ross Street.
For residents living in the South Hills, a complaint for support may be filed at the Mt. Lebanon Regional Office located at 250 Mt. Lebanon Blvd, Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15234.
Residents of the East Suburbs can utilize the Penn Hills Regional Office located at 12000 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15235 for support filings.
Filing a support complaint is free. You simply need to bring documentation with your Social Security number and the SSNs for your children; medical insurance cards, or copies of the cards and a photo ID. View and print a Child Support Complaint form.
To contact the court directly with support related questions, you can call (412) 350-5600 Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am - 11:45 am and 1:00 - 3:00 pm and Friday: 9:00 am - Noon.
Child Support Guidelines
In Pennsylvania, child support is governed by a fairly rigid set of guidelines, which set forth a recommended amount of child support based on the respective net monthly income of the parties. Once the net incomes of both parents are established, the number of children is included, and after factoring in certain additional expenses and deducting others, a monthly guideline amount of support is calculated.
This amount will then be further divided by the percentage of overnight by custody each parent. The parent receiving child support is called the obligee, and the parent paying child support is referred to as the obligor.
The PA Child Support Guidelines Were Revised on February 10, 2017 and went into effect on May 1, 2017.
Prior to May 1, 2017, the last changes to the guidelines occurred in August 2013 with changes to the minimum reserve amount and amended figures for support. Over the past 20 or so years, the changes have taken place every three to five years with previous revisions becoming effective in: May 2010, January 2005, April 1999, and September 1994.
The guidelines are set forth in P.a.R.C.P. 1910-16.3 and include figures for combined net monthly income up to $30,000.
What Do the Support Guidelines Include?
Pennsylvania uses the "income shares model" for its support guidelines. This model attempts to provide children of divorced, separated, or non-married parents with the same amount of money for living as if they lived in a family with both biological parents.
The guidelines contemplate funds for: housing, food, transportation, clothing, and “other miscellaneous expenses” as well as the first $250 dollars of unreimbursed medical expenses per child. Not included in the guidelines are items such as medical coverage, extra-curricular activities, day-care, and private school tuition. Additional funds for these items may be added to a support award.
Pennsylvania Child Support Estimator at the PA Child Support Program Website.
Payment of Child Support - Receipt of Child Support
The amount of child support owed begins to accrue from the date on which the support complaint is filed. This may be several weeks prior to the conference or support hearing. Accordingly, if you have been served with a support complaint, you may make direct payments to the obligee to minimize the amount of arrears owed at the date of the conference/hearing. If there is an overpayment, the arrears may be credited to reflect the overpayment.
Once a support Order has been established the obligor will generally be wage attached and child support owed will be deducted directly from the obligor's pay. If the obligor is self-employed or until a wage attachment is entered, the person paying child support will need to make all child support payments directly to Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit ("PASCDU"). Once an Order for support is in place, no payments should be made directly to the obligee.
Just as the support payments are made to PASCDU, the payments to the obligee will also be disbursed by PASCDU. The parent receiving child support may have the money deposited directly into a checking account, or they may receive an "EPPI-Card" which is like a debit card, where payments will be added.
To review your support case online and to review the status of any payments or arrears you may set up a user account with the Pennsylvania Child Support and Enforcement System ("PACSES").
Factors Which Affect the Amount of Child Support
Except in rare cases, if the parents share physical custody of the child, the higher wage earning parent will be responsible for providing the lower wage earning parent with child support.
The amount of support owed can be affected by the custodial time each parent has, in that there may be a downward deviation in the amount of support owed if the parents have shared physical custody or if the obligor has substantial custody time. Otherwise, the primary custodial parent will generally receive child support from the other parent. Various factors can have an impact on the ultimate award of support.
The obligation to pay child support is not dischargeable once it has been established, and will be owed until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school (or perhaps longer if the child is disabled).
The amount of child support may be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, including the loss of a job, injury, or disability of the obligor. An increase in wages by either parent provides the basis for seeking a modification of the amount of child support. However, a voluntary reduction in earnings or self-removal from the workforce will not be considered factors in reducing the amount of child support. In the instance where one parent is either not working, or is underemployed, an earning capacity may be imputed by the court.
Things to Remember
Regardless of the circumstances, dealing with child support is very difficult for the families involved. The main thing to consider is that the guidelines for child support are in place to provide for the basic needs of the dependent children.
How we can assist you?
If you need help getting child support from the other parent of your child, we can help. If you are currently receiving child support but believe you should be getting more based on a material change in the circumstances, we may be able to assist you. If you are currently paying child support and have a reduction in income, which was beyond your control, we may be able to obtain a modification of the amount of support you owe.
Contact us for more information, or call us at 412.397.7175 to speak to a lawyer today or schedule an attorney consultation. We proudly serve clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County throughout Western Pennsylvania.