Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by Lori Pace
Both parents are responsible for childcare. This applies regardless of whether the parents are married. Failure to share in the responsibility for raising the child can result in a significant reduction in quality of life. Child support laws and enforcement actions in Pennsylvania are available to ensure that parents take care of their children.
The Process For Child Support After Divorce in Pennsylvania
The Department of Human Services (DHS) provides the Child Support Program (CSP in Pennsylvania). If you want to apply to child support, parents must create an online profile at the DHS website. You can fill out sections on the application portal that will allow parents to provide information about their family (race, employment status, details, marital status, etc. The application portal also requires basic information about the parents, such as full names, addresses and phone numbers, Social Security Numbers, and telephone numbers.
The CSP will then try to locate the noncustodial parents and send a notice that the case is being brought up. It is important to provide accurate information in your application. It is important to be accurate as it will help locate the other parent quickly. The case cannot move forward until the parent is located. Domestic Relations Section (DRS), in order to locate the noncustodial parents, will provide the name and other information to the State Parent Locate System and the Federal Parent Locator System. They will then cross-checked the information with several databases until finding the parent.
After Locating The Noncustodial Parent
After the identification of the parent, it is time to determine the paternity. If the mother was married at the time the child was born, the husband will be taken as the father. Parents who did not marry will need to follow special procedures. Parents who agree to the paternity of their child can sign an Acknowledgement Of Paternity form (AOP). You can use this form to confirm the paternity of the child without the need for a court appearance. A minor can fill out the form if he is the father. This is possible without parental consent. After signing and filling in the AOP, the name of the father will be on the child’s birth certificate. A man claiming to be the father of the child can fill in an AOP form and submit it as a claim for paternity. However, this does not grant the father any rights to the child.
The mother can request genetic testing at the Domestic Relations Section to determine the paternity and identity of the child’s father if the father claims not to be the father. The collection of saliva samples from the child’s father and the child is part of genetic testing. To determine if the man is the biological father of the child, the samples are subject to a DNA test. If the DNA test results are positive, the court will issue a court order naming the man the father of the child.
After the establishment of paternity, the child support case can move forward to a hearing to determine child support obligations the noncustodial parent must pay.
For further details on the child support process, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services page.
How To Receive Child Support
Pennsylvania provides three payment options for parents who receive child support.
The Pennsylvania EPPICard is the first choice. The first option is the Pennsylvania EPPICard. This MasterCard debit card is issued automatically to parents who don’t specify another method of receiving their funds. The card doesn’t require that the parent have an account in a bank. Once payments are available to the noncustodial parent. Then the payments will y can be loaded onto the card. The EPPICard is available for withdrawals and payments as well as cashback services. Additionally, you can use the card at MasterCard ATMs without any additional charges. However, there may be a fee for using it at other ATMs.
Direct deposit allows parents to receive child support payments directly into bank accounts. This method is quick and secure because its electronically processed. To register for direct deposit parents must have a checking or savings account. They also need to fill out a Direct Deposit Authorization form.
Paper checks are the last option. Then within 48 hours after being received by the noncustodial parents, the checks are sent to the address of custodial parents. This is a risky option because anyone with access to the physical mailbox can steal the checks.
The Maximum Amount That Your Family Can Receive
The Pennsylvania Support Guideline helps determine child support obligation. The guideline attempts to calculate support payments in a way that is similar to how they would have spent on a child if they lived together. The guideline takes into account the income of both parents and the cost of child care and healthcare.
Parents may also request modification to the support payment in case of a change in income, custody arrangement, or an increase in childcare cost.
Enforcement of Child Support in Pennsylvania
The child support cases are different depending on the parent paying it. Not all parents have the requirement to pay child support in a timely and complete manner. Sometimes, noncustodial parents may not pay child support in full. To enforce child support payments in Pennsylvania, there are several options. These are:
- Passport denial
- Bank accounts seized
- Suspension or revocation of professional, recreational, and driver’s licenses
- Reporting to credit bureaus
- Interception of winning lottery tickets
- Interception of federal and state tax refunds
- Retention of income and injury compensation
- In serious cases, a sentence of imprisonment up to 6 months.