Applying for Support

State Expectations of Parents
The law in Pennsylvania states that the custodial parent (the parent that the child lives with), any adult or agency caring for a minor child, or any married individual living apart from his/her spouse may request support from the absent parent or spouse. The law states that both parents have an obligation to support their children, but the monetary amount of the support obligation depends on many factors.

The most important factor is the net income of each parent. The way that the Domestic Relations Section determines net income is described later in this manual. Both parents are expected to support their children as much as they are financially able.

Dependent Child Tax Claim Purposes
The parent who has custody of the child more than 50% of the time claims the child as a dependent for income tax purposes. This can be changed only if the custodial parent (the one with whom the child lives) fills out and submits IRS form 8332. This form allows the absent parent (the parent with whom the child does not live) to claim the child as a dependent. Parents cannot claim a child as a dependent if more than half of the child support came from a third source, such as public assistance.

Generally, a child has the legal right to receive support until his or her 18th birthday, or until graduation from high school. Parents may also be required to pay child support for a child that has been placed outside of the home by a Juvenile Court Judge or child welfare agency, such as Montgomery County Children and Youth Services. In those instances the local county is the plaintiff, and both parents are expected to reimburse the county as much as they can afford, as determined by state guidelines.

How to Apply for Support
If you wish to begin a new support case, add a child to a present active case, or reopen an old case, you must appear at Domestic Relations in person for an intake interview.

Please note: Everyone must have an intake interview. Allow 1-2 hours for your Initial Interview. Please remember that due to the client volume we can only see clients Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you come after 2 p.m. we can not guarantee that you will be seen that day. Please be aware the longest wait time will be between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. If you plan to arrive during these hours, plan to be in our office for a minimum of two hours. You may be asked to return at a later date for your intake interview.