The Support Conference
The conference officer will conduct the conference with the parties and their attorneys, if applicable. If the child or children for whom support has been requested were born out of wedlock and paternity has not previously been established, this must be resolved prior to the entry of a support order. The absent parent can voluntarily acknowledge paternity or the Court will establish paternity through the use of genetic testing and/or a trial before the Court.
The conference officer will review the complaint for support, earnings reports submitted by employers, pay stubs and/or tax returns, expenses and all other relevant information in determining the support obligation. Unless the parties have agreed to an amount of support prior to the conference, all support obligations will be determined in accordance with the PA support guidelines, as adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
It should be noted that the most important factor in determining the amount of support is the income of the parties. Other factors will also be considered, including but not limited to, medical insurance costs, medical bills, shared custody arrangements and daycare expenses.
If the parties can come to an agreement on the support issues, then an Order of Court is prepared in accordance with those terms. The Order will also address all other standard conditions that are required to be in the Order in compliance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the Court will enter an interim Order calculated in accordance with the support guidelines. Either party may, within twenty (20) days of the date of the interim Order, file a written demand with the domestic relations section for a hearing before the Court. If neither party demands a hearing before the Court, then the interim order shall constitute a final Order.
If a demand is filed, there shall be a hearing de novo before the Court. The Court shall hear the case and enter a final Order within sixty (60) days from the date of the written demand for a hearing. The next step in the appeal period would most likely be to file with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Please note that throughout the appeal process, the support order will remain in effect, and will be fully enforced in accordance with the law. In addition, it is MANDATORY that both parties notify each other and the Domestic Relations office, in writing, of any change in circumstance that may affect the support order. Changes may include, but are not limited to, change in address, change in employment situation, change in the child’s living arrangements or a substantial change in income