The following options are available to file for support:
In person – you may file for child support at the Intake Unit located in the Manor Building, 5th Floor, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219, Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM OR you may file at the South Hills Office (SHO) located at Suite 200, 250 Mt. Lebanon Blvd., Pittsburgh PA 15234, or the Penn Hills Office (PHO) located at 12000 Frankstown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235, Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Support complaints for local cases are also processed during night Court hours on Wednesday from 4:30 – 7:00 PM at the Family Court Facility, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh PA 15219. If appearing in person, bringing a completed Intake Information Questionnaire (located in the Court manual of this website) will expedite processing time.
By mail – the forms required can be obtained by either calling our office at 412-350-5600 or by following directions provided in the Adult Section Court Manual. Completed forms can be returned by mail, by following the instructions provided in the manual.
You must provide your Social Security Number (or, if you are not a U.S. citizen, sign a form to verify you do not have an Social Security Number) and provide the child(ren)’s date of birth and Social Security Number(s). It is critical that we have the Social Security Number, date of birth, residence address, place of employment and physical description for the person you are filing against. If you do not have this information, you will be permitted to file for support, but you will need to wait until Family Division searches for the defendant before scheduling the case for a conference/hearing.
The law states that in order to receive public assistance, you must pursue support (through the Court) against your present spouse and/or the non-custodial parent of your children. If you are receiving cash assistance from the Department of Public Welfare, however, the complaint for support is electronically forwarded and you do not have to do anything unless you receive notice otherwise.
Family Division is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Clients and litigants without specific scheduled matters (“walk-ins”) are accommodated Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Wednesday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The South Hills Office (SHO) and the Penn Hills Office are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Cases are assigned to the regional offices as determined by the Zip Code of the defendant’s mailing address. Clients may appear in the office without an appointment for assistance with a support case Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Plaintiffs may also file a complaint for support in the SHO or PHO, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The SHO and PHO also accept purge payments when made by cashier’s check or money order. No cash payments are accepted.
Yes. You may initiate separate support complaints against each parent of each child. If you receive cash assistance (DPW) for these children, your complaint will be sent to the Court electronically.
No. Support and custody are completely separate issues. The non-custodial parent may initiate a separate custody action if they so desire. The custodial parent may also file to “confirm” custody as well.
Yes. All children are considered equally when multiple family obligations exist. The Court guidelines provide formulas used to calculate support obligations when there are children from multiple relationships.
Per federal regulation, new support complaints must be scheduled within 90 days of locating the alleged father or noncustodial parent. In Allegheny County, new complaints, modifications, and enforcement conferences are usually heard within 60 days of filing or requesting a Court date.
Most support complaints are mailed within a few days after they are signed and completed. The scheduling notice and support complaint is mailed to the defendant by regular mail. Additionally, you will be given a copy of the defendant’s scheduling notice and support complaint, plus an Affidavit of Service form. You should attempt to have the defendant personally served by an adult who is not a party to the support action and is not a relative of either party to ensure service of the complaint.
The defendant is legally responsible for paying support from the time the complaint is filed. At the time of the conference, the monetary award is made retroactive to the date you filed the complaint. In most cases, the defendant is required to pay something per month on the retroactive award in addition to the monthly support obligation. However, the Court has no way of making the defendant pay in the absence of a Court order.
An attorney is not required when filing for support or when attending the support conference. However, you have the right to hire an attorney to represent you and attend the conference and hearing. If you do not have an attorney, you may contact the Allegheny County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, 400 Koppers Building, 436 Seventh Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15219 (412.261.5555) for information about hiring a lawyer. If you cannot afford an attorney, this office may be able to provide you with information about agencies that may offer legal services to eligible persons at a reduced fee or no fee.
If you are the custodial parent (plaintiff), are not on cash assistance (DPW) and fail to appear, then the support action will be dismissed per Rule 1910.3(b); however, if you do receive cash assistance and fail to appear, you risk losing your welfare cash grant, and the Court will refer you to DPW for non-cooperation. If you are the non-custodial parent (defendant), the Court will proceed and establish an order if sufficient income information is available. A bench warrant for your arrest may also be issued.
Administrative Order 444 of 1999 contains the process for obtaining a continuance for your support proceedings and is dependent on when your Court date is scheduled. If your Court date is more than 30 days in the future and both parties consent, you may present a Court order requesting a continuance to the Client Service Center in the Family Court Facility, or you may present a signed agreement at any regional office. If both parties do not consent, or your Court date is less than 30 days in the future, you must present a motion to the judge who is assigned to your case and obtain a Court order. Procedures for presenting a motion are contained in the Court Manual, accessible via this website: http://www.alleghenyCourts.us/family/CourtManual/Adult.aspx.
Family members and friends are permitted in the Family Court Facility at 440 Ross Street; however, only the parties directly involved in the case (plaintiff and defendant) and their respective attorneys are permitted in the conference areas. Family members and friends are not permitted in Suite 210 of the Allegheny Building, the South Hills Office (SHO), or the Penn Hills Office (PHO) due to limited seating and space.
Children are not permitted to attend support conferences, unless genetic testing is required. There is a Children’s Room available, for a limited number of children, at 440 Ross Street. There are no child care services available at the South Hills Office or the Penn Hills Office.
The monthly net incomes for each party are determined at the time of the support conference. A support chart (guideline) is used to determine the amount of support, which must be paid by the non-custodial parent based on the total relative income of both parents. These guidelines are a part of the Pennsylvania Rules of Court as promulgated by Supreme Court. The “Guidelines” may be found a PA R.C.P. 1910.16.
Pursuant to the laws of Pennsylvania, every child support order must address medical support/health insurance coverage. The law requires that the Court determine the ability of each parent to provide, based on what is available to that parent. The Court must also address medical coverage in Court orders relative to spousal support.
In every instance, the Court looks at reasonable cost in determining which party (plaintiff or defendant) should provide medical insurance. In accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, reasonable cost is defined as five percent (5%) of net monthly income and, when added to the amount of basic child support, does not exceed fifth percent (50%) of net monthly income.
Yes. This is quite common. Provisions are set forth within the support guidelines, which account for apportioning childcare costs and including those in the support order. The incomes of both parties are considered in making a determination. You should bring all documentation regarding your childcare costs to the support conference.
You must file your exceptions within 20 days of the date of your hearing or date the recommendation was mailed to you. Exceptions are filed at the Docketing Office, Manor Building, 5th Floor, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219. You will need the original and one copy of each of the following: the hearing officer’s recommendation; your written or typed exceptions (which are specific objections) to the hearing officer’s recommendation; and the receipt for your transcript. A transcript of the support proceeding must be ordered at the Court Reporter’s Office located in Room 805, Manor Building, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A $50 deposit is required at the time the transcript is ordered. If you believe you are unable to afford the cost of the transcript, you may seek a waiver of those costs through Pro Se Motions. In order to timely file exceptions if you are seeking a waiver of the transcript, you will need to file a “Certification of Intent to Seek Transcript Fee Waiver,” which is available at the Docketing Office located at the Manor Building, 5th Floor, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219 or at the Family Court Facility, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
All support payments are made to the Pennsylvania State Collection and Distribution Unit (PA SCDU), a centralized state agency.
If you are on cash assistance from the Department of Welfare, any monies collected up to the amount of your welfare grant become payable to the State of Pennsylvania to subsidize the grant. If monies are collected in cases where there is an existing cash assistance grant, the custodial parent may receive a “support pass through” amount, up to $200 per month, in addition to your grant monies.
If you are not receiving cash assistance, SCDU will forward any monies collected to you within 48 hours of receipt via the payment options referenced in the below FAQ.
The litigant may request a name change due to a change in his/her marital status by providing documentation showing his/her new name (i.e., Social Security card, driver’s license, Notice of Intention to Resume Prior Name (available from the Court Manual on this website: http://www.alleghenyCourts.us/family/CourtManual/Adult.aspx)). This information may be faxed to: 412.350.5599 or 412.350.0338, or you may appear in person or mail the required documentation to: Family Division, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
A signed letter, including your name, address, and PACSES member ID number, may be faxed to: 412.350.0338 or 412.350.5599. You may also mail a letter to: Family Division, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or appear in person at the same address (1st or 3rd floor receptionist) to make changes to your demographic information.
Yes. Parties may suspend/terminate (stop) their support order at any time if they both agree and if the plaintiff and/or child(ren) are not receiving cash assistance from the Department of Welfare. There are three ways parties can proceed. (1) Submit a completed Suspension/Termination Agreement Form (in person or by mail); or (2) Have their legal representative enter a consent order of Court to suspend/terminate the support order or (3) Appear in person together at the Family Court Facility, the South Hills Office (SHO) or the Penn Hills Office (PHO) and sign a consent order of Court to suspend/terminate the support order. Parties receiving cash assistance from the Department of Welfare who wish to suspend/terminate (stop) their Court ordered support should appear in person either at that Family Court Facility, the SHO or the PHO to have their case reviewed by a Domestic Relations Officer.
Your attorney can present a motion on your behalf. If you do not have an attorney, you may represent yourself pro se (without an attorney representing you). Pro se motions are heard every day at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (The pro se motions calendar is available on this web site under Family Court, then Pro Se Motions). When filing a motion, you can utilize the forms in the Court Manual on this website: http://www.alleghenyCourts.us/family/CourtManual/Adult.aspx.
If you are financially eligible, you may be able to obtain help in preparing your pro se motion. A Legal Advice Clinic is available Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. You must bring proof of your income to the Legal Advice Clinic, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, which will determine if you qualify to meet with a law student or volunteer. If none is available at that time, you will be given an appointment to return at a later date. On the date you are rescheduled to present the motion to a judge, you should return to the Family Law Clinic/Self Help Center and report at the time, date and Courtroom set forth in the motion.
A support payor/defendant who is presenting a motion where the payee does not have an attorney must also serve a copy of the motion to the Title IV-D attorney, Allegheny County Law Department, 300 Ft. Pitt Commons Building, 445 Ft. Pitt Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A copy must also be sent to the plaintiff. If you are receiving help through the Pro Se Motions and Pro Se Assistance program, a copy of the motion will be sent to the IV-D attorney by the Court.
Either party can file a “Petition for Modification of Existing Support Order” if they believe they are entitled to an increase or decrease in support. The support order may be modified when there has been a material and/or substantial change in circumstance not due to the filing party’s own actions. At the modification conference all the same considerations and procedures apply as in the initial support conference.
A request for modification may be filed in person at the Family Court Facility, 1st floor Screening Department Check-In Desk (local walk-ins), Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. You may also appear in person at the South Hills Office, 250 Mt. Lebanon Blvd., Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15234, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or the Penn Hills Office, 12000 Frankstown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235.
This is the website of the Domestic Relations Association of Pennsylvania.
There is no fee collected for filing a support complaint, and all support payments collected are directly distributed to the plaintiff in the support case, or to the Department of Public Welfare if the plaintiff is active on cash assistance. The only ‘fee’ collected is in situations where the family has never received cash assistance from the Department of Public Welfare. In that instance, a $25.00 annual federal user fee is collected from the custodial parent when support is collected in excess of $2,000.00 on the case.
You may elect to have support payments deposited directly to your bank account or automatically deposited on a debit card issued by MasterCard. To arrange for direct deposit to your bank account, you will need to make arrangements directly with the Pennsylvania State Collection and Disbursement Unit (PA SCDU), who is responsible for collecting and distributing support monies. A copy of the required form may be obtained by contacting the Family Division Information Specialists at 412.350.5600, who will mail a copy to you. You may also appear in person at the Family Court Facility, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, access a copy on the Court Manual available on this website (http://www.alleghenyCourts.us/family/CourtManual/Adult.aspx), or contact PA SCDU Customer Service at 1.877.727.7238. You must mail the completed form to:
PA SCDU DIRECT DEPOSIT ENROLLMENT FORM
Exceptions Processing Department
PA SCDU, P.O. Box 61216
Harrisburg PA 17106-1216
Support plaintiffs who do not arrange for direct deposit will automatically receive a PA EPPICard (a debit MasterCard), where support payments are posted when received. For questions and or information regarding your Pennsylvania EPPICard, call 1.800.304.1669 or visit www.EPPICard.com.
The purge window is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Family Division accepts cash, money orders, and/or cashier/bank checks made payable to Allegheny County Family Division. Credit card payments are also accepted and processed by the Case Management Unit. The Family Division does NOT accept personal checks since it cannot be responsible for lost or misplaced checks, and checks are sometimes returned for ‘insufficient funds.’ Purge payments may also be made via cashier’s check or money order (no cash) at the South Hills Office, 250 Mt. Lebanon Blvd., Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15234, or the Penn Hills Office, 12000 Frankstown Road, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15235.
The child support order and state regulations require that all child support payments be made to PA SCDU.
Payment instructions are available at the purge window and in the Court Manual. You will also receive a copy of the instructions at the time your order is established.
The calculation of child/spousal support involves the incomes of both parties to a support action, so both parties must be present to provide income and medical insurance information.
Cash assistance from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) is a form of aid given to a custodial parent to assist with the financial responsibilities of raising a child. These funds are made available from DPW program dollars, and since both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for a child, DPW seeks reimbursement based on the guidelines.
The Court must address overpayments in a support case pursuant to PA Rule of Civil Procedure 1910.19(g). If a case is overpaid by more than two months with a support obligation in effect, you should contact the Family Division (412.350.5600) for a reduction in the support amount. If an overpayment results at the time a support obligation terminates, you may petition for recovery of the overpayment within one year of the termination. You may appear in person at the Family Court Facility, 1st floor, Screening Department Check-In Desk (local walk-ins), Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. You may also appear in person at the South Hills Regional Office, 250 Mt. Lebanon Blvd., Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15234, or the Penn Hills Office, 12000 Frankstown Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. You can also submit a petition for recovery of an overpayment online via the Child Support Website at https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/
Typically, if spousal support is requested/ordered, you may not remove your spouse from your medical insurance until you are no longer married (i.e., a divorce decree is entered). You should consult with an attorney for more information.
No, child support does not automatically terminate when a child turns 18. In accordance with Pennsylvania law, child support continues until a child is emancipated (i.e., the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later). Support may continue after the 18th birthday in situations where the child suffers from a disability, which began before the child turned 18. You should contact the Family Division via telephone, mail, or by appearing in person at the Family Court Facility, the South Hills Office or the Penn Hills Office several months before your child’s emancipation date to determine the action you need to take.
Monthly support payments are pro-rated, based on defendant’s pay period (i.e., weekly/biweekly/monthly) and deducted by the defendant’s employer according to the pay period. For example, if the defendant is paid every other week, the support is deducted in equal amounts, 26 times per year.
The state-wide computer system used for support cases (PACSES) automatically attaches all reported, available income sources (i.e., employers). If a wage attachment is sent to a secondary employer (i.e., a part-time or second job), and the full support amount is being deducted by your primary employer, you should contact the Family Division immediately. The case will be reviewed and if the full support amount is being deducted and submitted by your primary employer, all additional wage attachments will be terminated.
You should contact the Family Division via telephone, mail, or in person at the Family Court Facility, the South Hills Office, or the Penn Hills Office to request enforcement of your order.
Cases are scheduled at regional offices based on the defendant’s Zip Code. Plaintiffs may ‘appear’ for any scheduled event in a regional office by coming to the Central Office (440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219) on the date of the scheduled event at least 15 minutes in advance of the conference/hearing.
You cannot speak directly to the judge on your case without the other party/attorney present. If you need the judge to address an issue in your case, you must prepare and present a motion to the judge. If you are financially eligible, you may be able to obtain help in preparing your pro se motion. A Legal Advice Clinic, located at the Family Court Facility, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15291, is available Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. You must bring proof of your income to the Legal Advice Clinic, which will determine if you qualify to meet with a law student or volunteer. If none is available at that time, you will be given an appointment to return at a later date. On the date you are rescheduled to present the motion to a judge, you should return to the Legal Advice Clinic and report at the time, date and Courtroom set forth in the motion.
The official Court records, including all pleadings filed in a case, are available for viewing in the Manor Building, 5th Floor, 564 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). A photocopier is available for your use in copying any documents from the file.
Many of the forms used in the Court Manual are available as WORD documents, which you can print and complete for use in your case. All of the forms on the website are continually updated to provide the most current version. If a form is not available online, to may request a copy at the Family Court Facility, 440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or email 1stFOP@pacses.com.
If you are a plaintiff, you can appear at the Intergovernmental Office (Manor Building, 564 Forbes Avenue, 5th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219) and request assistance with this service. If you are a defendant, your portion of the case will only be transferred if the other Court requests the transfer.
You can come to the Family Court Facility (440 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219) with three certified copies of the order and an affidavit of arrears (obtained from the state where the order was issued). Court staff will file to register the order where the defendant lives for enforcement.
No. You will complete a general testimony form which will be forwarded to the other state/county with your petition. This is considered your testimony for the hearing. The other Court may offer telephonic testimony if you wish to participate in the scheduled hearing.