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Applying for child support in Pennsylvania

Getting a divorce when you have children comes with its share of difficulties. Even divorcing spouses who are otherwise civil with each other may find themselves at odds over child support. Child support is generally awarded to the parent with physical custody of the child to help them pay for child-related expenses.

If parents can work out an agreement amongst themselves, with help from their attorneys, they can present the agreement to a judge for approval. Once the judge approves the agreement, the child support order will go into effect.

In many cases, though, one parent will fill out an application for child support. The parent with primary custody of the child (independently or through their attorney) or the likely-father who wants to establish paternity can complete the application. As long as you live in Pennsylvania, you can apply for child support at any time even if your ex lives out-of-state, as long as the child is a dependent minor and you have custody (full or part-time).

The custodial parent will fill out the application for child support form, as well as the intake questionnaire and complaint for support forms, and submit the forms to a Domestic Relations office nearby. The Domestic Relations office can help parents establish paternity, locate the other parent and help establish support obligations.

The court will then determine how much support is needed by using Pennsylvania Supreme Court guidelines. These guidelines encourage judges to consider each parent's income, childcare expenses, insurance costs and living arrangements. A family law attorney in your area can help you file for child support and help make sure your child is taken care of financially.

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