What is support and who may receive it?

Support is the payment of money for the care, maintenance and living expenses of a child or a spouse. There is no requirement, nor any ability, for this Court to require an accounting from the person receiving the support to show where or how the support money is spent.

Child Support

Under Pennsylvania law, parents are responsible for the financial support of their children until emancipation. Emancipation occurs when the child turns 18 years of age and graduates high school, whichever occurs last. There are certain exceptions to this rule which may apply when the child has turned 18 and has withdrawn or dropped out of high school or when a child has special needs. In certain cases, parents may be responsible for the support of their children beyond the age of 18 or emancipation.

Spousal Support

Under Pennsylvania law, one spouse may be responsible for the support of the other spouse. Generally, when there is a large difference in the incomes between the husband and wife and they are separated from each other, spousal support may be ordered by the Court. Spousal support is also commonly referred to alimony pendente lite (A.P.L.). There are certain legal differences between spousal support and A.P.L. which may be discussed with an attorney.

The obligation to pay spousal support ends when a divorce decree is entered by the Court. If a party is required to pay support to a spouse after the divorce, that is known as alimony and may or may not be handled through this office.

Show All Answers

1. What is support and who may receive it?
2. How do I file for support?
3. What if there is a Protection From Abuse order against the person from whom I am seeking support?
4. How is the support amount determined?
5. How paternity is established and why is it important?
6. What must I do if I receive an Order to appear for a support conference or hearing?
7. Where do I go for support conferences or hearings?
8. Do I have to appear for my support hearing if I live outside of Washington County, Pennsylvania?
9. What are the rules to participate by phone and how do I request to do this?
10. What will happen if I don’t appear for a conference or hearing before the Court?
11. What happens at a support conference?
12. What happens at a support hearing?
13. How do I file exceptions?
14. What are my obligations if I receive public assistance benefits?
15. What are my obligations while I have an active support case?
16. How do I change my support order?
17. What do I do if I am paying spousal support and a divorce is granted?
18. What do I do if one of the children who I pay support for turns 18 and graduates high school?
19. What is PACSES?
20. How do I pay my support?
21. What do I do if I cannot pay my support?
22. What type of enforcement actions may be taken if I don't pay my support?
23. What if my driver's license is suspended for failure to pay support?
24. What is SCDU and how do I obtain information concerning payments?
25. How do I collect unreimbursed medical expenses under my order of support?
26. What is the PACSES IVR and how do I use it?