father carrying a baby receiving a child support modification from family law attorney

PA Support Modifications in the Time of COVID-19

In light of the pandemic and its impact on employment and income, is it possible you are paying too much or receiving too little under your current child, spousal, or APL support order?

Do you currently have a support order (child/spousal/APL) in place? Has your income been affected by the coronavirus pandemic? Are you concerned, as the payor, that your ability to pay the current support amount is jeopardized by the ramifications of the global pandemic?

Or are you concerned, as the recipient, that your current support order is based higher earnings than you presently receive? The family law attorneys at High Swartz are here to help and offer insight regarding the rights and responsibilities surrounding support orders during these uncertain times.

Reduction/Loss of Income does not automatically change your support obligation.

Loss of employment/reduction in income must be reported to Domestic Relations by the filing of a Petition to Modify Support. If you are the payor, it doesn’t matter that you have stopped receiving a paycheck (and there are no wages to attach), an ongoing support order will continue to charge, meaning your arrears balance will accrue. If you are the recipient of support, Domestic Relations will have no way of knowing whether your wages have been reduced, warranting an increase in your support, unless you file a Petition to Modify. If the global pandemic has impacted your income/earnings, you should file a Petition to Modify in your support matter as soon as possible.

Don’t wait until courts re-open to file a Petition to Modify.

The Pennsylvania Child Support program is accepting online filings during the ongoing global pandemic. Filings are accepted from pro se parties as well as attorneys. The Pennsylvania Child Support program can be accessed at the following website: https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/CSWS/

To file a Petition to Modify:

  • Click the above link and select the link to “Begin/Resume a Request for Support Services.”
  • You will be re-directed to the website where you can submit your request for modification of an existing support order. If you have not used the website in the past, you will need to register an account in order to complete this process.
  • After completing the registration process, to complete an online Petition to Modify you will need to provide the information requested on the online form.
  • Prior to initiating this process, we suggest you have certain information handy; for example,your PACSES Case Number, information about your current support matter, and your updated income information.

Unless and until you file a Petition to Modify, Domestic Relations will have no information regarding your loss of income and your current support order will remain unchanged. The date of filing the Petition to Modify is a critical date because your new support order will be retroactive back to the filing date. This retroactivity will impact the arrears on your case whether you are the payor or the recipient.

To ensure your modification action is filed and pursued properly, you may consider the following legal services:

a. Seek the help of an attorney to file your Petition to Modify and attend the subsequent support conference pro se (“pro se” means on your own behalf, without an attorney)

b. File the Petition to Modify pro se (on your own) and have your attorney attend the subsequent support conference with you

c. Seek the help of an attorney to file your Petition to Modify and attend the subsequent support conference with you or on your behalf

The Family Law attorneys at High Swartz are happy to assist you in filing a modification for support, bearing in mind financial restraints. Please call 610-275-0700. We are available by phone and video conferencing for your peace of mind.

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