Establishing the Support Order

After paternity has been established, you will receive notice advising you when the support conference is scheduled and what information to bring. You should be prepared to talk about and provide proof of any special needs the child has, such as any medical conditions.

Who must attend the support conference?

Both the custodial parent and noncustodial parent must attend the support conference. 

What if I cannot attend the support conference?

Telephone conference request forms can be obtained by contacting the domestic relations section.

How is the amount of child support to be paid determined in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has child support guidelines that were developed with the principal that the child(ren) of separated, divorced or single parents should receive the same amount of parental support as if the parents were together. The State Supreme Court issues these guidelines for the DRS to use in calculating how much child support a parent should pay. 

The guidelines are based on the needs of the child and the ability of the parents to provide child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

What factors does the guideline consider when determining the child support amount?

A conference officer will establish the support order based on the income and expense information provided by the parents and in accordance with the Pennsylvania support guidelines. The support officer will also consider the time each parent is responsible for the child. 

The PA Child support website includes the Pennsylvania support estimator, which you can use to estimate the amount of your monthly child support obligation. However, the court will establish the amount of monthly support and it may be different than the amount on the support estimator. 

What details are in the support order?

The support order is a court order that lists the details about child support payments. The support order tells how much and how often support payments must be made and other expenses the noncustodial parent must pay, such as medical support. When the noncustodial parent has more than one child support order, the support paid is divided proportionally between each support case. 

Can the support order be appealed?

The support order can be appealed. Contact your county DRS for guidance on the appeal process.