Child Support | Pennsylvania Family Law Blog - The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz
Many parents have been laid off due to the Pennsylvania Stay at Home Order and, while some businesses are slowly reopening, many remain closed or have reduced hours for employees. As a result, it may be extremely difficult for some parents to make child support payments during the phased reopening period. However, that does not mean you do not have options, and there may be legal help out there.
Child support determination is part of any divorce involving minor children. In most cases, one parent is required to pay child support to the other parent to help with the costs of raising the child. Courts follow state guidelines to determine child support as part of divorce proceedings. If the parent who is required to pay child support (obligor) falls behind in his or her payments to the other parent (obligee), he or she is in arrears. The past due amount is treated as a debt that must be repaid by law.
Usually, when a judge settles a case, the ruling he or she makes is permanent. And it can only be appealed with great expense and difficulty. However, when it comes to divorce proceedings, determinations regarding child custody, child support, and alimony are not intended to be permanent, but rather can be modified if new circumstances call for it. This is especially true when the order pertains to children.
According to Pennsylvania law, “Either party to a child support order may request an order modification any time they experience a material change in circumstances such as a change in income; child care expenses; medical coverage; custody; age of the child; incarceration; relocation; disability; death; or, special needs of the child.” This means that your child support order could be subject to a change at any time, whether requested by you or by your former spouse. Read the rest »
Child support obligations in the US are taken seriously at the federal, state and local levels of government. The system in the US has a federally outlined framework, but empowers the states to create and enforce the majority of the specific guidelines for their programs. All of the states adhere to a broad focus of ensuring that parents are providing financial care and support for their children, and Pennsylvania is no exception. The federal requirements are that the states establish a uniform statewide set of guidelines and that these laws are formally reviewed and reevaluated within a minimum interval of every four years. The US military branches and federally recognized tribal entities maintain these requirements as well; however, those models have rare and unique intricacies which will not be analyzed in the calculation methods to be outlined.
Sherri Shepherd, former co-host of the popular daytime talk show The View has been ordered to pay child support to a child that she and her former husband had through surrogacy.
According to news reports, the courts have ordered Shepherd to pay child support despite the fact that the child is not biologically hers and she is divorced from her ex-husband Lamar Sally, who is the child’s biological father. The child was conceived using Sally’s sperm, but is Shepherd’s son by law since she was married to Sally at the time and had agreed to raise the child. Read the rest »
On July 15th, Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies arrested nine men in a night raid for failure to pay child support. Authorities said the males owed a combined $96,827.90 in support for ten children. As reported by ABC 6, twelve deputies with K9s tracked the men across Bridgeport, Spring City, Norristown, Royersford, Pottstown, Spring City, and Lansdale. Five others are still wanted by the Sheriff’s Office. Read the rest »
On June 1, The Department of Human Services (DHS) launched a new mobile version of the Pennsylvania Child Support website. It allows users to access child support program information with a phone or tablet. Now, parents can easily access case details, make payments, request materials, check on upcoming appointments, calculate child support payments, and view the status of their cases. There is even a frequently asked questions portion of the site that provides answers to common inquiries. Read the rest »
For six years, a Lackawanna County woman struggled to get the child support she was promised from her ex-spouse. As a result, Lackawanna County officials put the delinquent father on their “Most Wanted” list for outstanding child support. According to a news report in The Moscow Villager, officials were finally able to help her receive a check for $39,772.65, the largest collection of child support arrears in the history of Lackawanna County.
Officials with the county threatened to force the sale of the delinquent father’s home in order to get the mother the money she needs. He allegedly violated the law by skipping town and fraudulently attempting to transfer the property to his new wife and stepson. The pressure from the county helped encourage the delinquent father’s current wife to pay the support in full.
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Under current Pennsylvania law, a woman who has a child from rape can ask a judge to end the rapist father’s parental rights. This means that the father who committed the rape will not have custody or visitation rights. However, women who end the rapist father’s parent rights also surrender their ability to collect child support from the father. According to a news report in The Express-Times, a new bill has been proposed to allow a mother to end parental rights while still collecting support.
Democratic State Representative Mike Schlossberg proposed the bill that would close this loophole. It was vetted by the House Judiciary Committee last year and has recently been folded into another bill that is currently in the House. It is now part of the larger legislation regarding the termination of parental rights for sexual offenders. Read the rest »
As reported by U.S. Politics Today, August is Child Support Enforcement Awareness Month in Pennsylvania, and the state’s Child Support program continues to exceed federal standards designed to ensure children get the financial support they need. The Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Child Support Enforcement administers child support collection and enforcement efforts through “cooperative agreements with the 67 county Courts of Common Pleas’ Domestic Relations Sections.” Per federal rules, five measures must be successfully met, including collecting current and overdue child support and being cost-effective in the administration of child support collection.
From 2010 through 2011, Pennsylvania disbursed $1.55 billion in child support collections to custodial parents. The State Secretary notes that through the committed efforts of welfare department employees and county court workers, custodial parents are receiving the child support they need so their children can live in a more secure environment. Read the rest »