How do I file for Child Support in Delaware County?
In order to begin the process of obtaining Child Support through the Delaware County Domestic Relations Office, an "Application for Support" along with a "Complaint for Support" must be filed with the Domestic Relations Office. The Initial "Petition," plus four (4) copies, must be filed will be filed with the Domestic Relation Office's Court Unit located in the basement of the Curran Building. No filing fee is required for an "Initial Complaint." One (1) copy will be returned to the "Petitioner," who is the filing party, also known as the "Plaintiff" or "obligee," who must serve the with the Complaint as well as notice of the date assignment to the "Respondent," who is the opposing party, also known as the "Defendant" or the "obligor."
After filing is completed and one (1) copy is returned, the Child Support matter will be assigned to a Domestic Relations Office (DRO) caseworker who will be responsible for overseeing the Child Support case in Media.
Child Support cases in Delaware County are heard at the Domestic Relations Division, which is located in the Curran Building. The Curran Building is part of the Delaware County Courthouse Complex and is located at Second and Orange Streets, Media, PA 19063. The DRO hours are from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The Client Information Center / Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can be contacted at 610-891-4314.
The Delaware County Domestic Relations Office is located at:
Next, the Delaware County Domestic Relations Office will send a "Notice to Appear" to both parties and the parties' attorneys of record prior to the support conference date. If the filing party or the filing party's attorney fails to serve the opposing party, however, this notice cannot be used as a substitute for service because the Domestic Relations Office will not copy and serve the entire petition. Along with the court hearing notice, both parties will receive an "income and expense statement." This statement does not need to be completed at the time of the initial support conference. However, if a party is seeking a deviation from the Pennsylvania Child Support guidelines, then he or she should complete the income and expense statement for the Master's Hearing.
Because both Petitioners and Respondents are often represented by attorney for Child Support cases, parties' attorneys should understand the specific provisions of Family Law practice at Delaware County Family Court. Specifically, if a party's attorney would like to receive notice of the Child Support hearing and receive copies of any "Orders," a "Request for Notification" is required. A party's attorney may withdraw their appearance with respect to a Child Support matter without leave of Court. The attorney must simply file a "Request for Termination of Notification."
An additional important consideration when filing for Child Support in Delaware County is that all support "Pleadings" filed with the Domestic Relations Office must have the "Rule" page and the current Child Support "Order" attached, if applicable. If a party's attorney has any questions regarding filing requirements, the Attorney Liaison at the Delaware County Domestic Relations Office should be contact at 610-891-8007.
How do I file for Spousal Support or Alimony Pendente Lite in Delaware County?
As with child support, a party filing for Spousal Support (which is sought when the parties are separated and potentially before a divorce is pending), or "Alimony Pendente Lite," also known as "APL" (alimony while the divorce is pending), must file an "Application for Alimony Pendente Lite" along with a "Petition for Alimony Pendente Lite" and/or a "Petition for Interim Counsel Fees and Expenses" with the Delaware County Domestic Relations Office.
After the "Petition for APL" is filed, the case will be immediately scheduled for a Master's Hearing, not an intake conference. If Spousal Support is requested, rather than Alimony Pendente Lite, the issue of Spousal Support will be heard at the intake conference. At the intake Conference, if the Obligor denies entitlement, the Caseworker will not enter an award of Spousal Support and will schedule a Master's Hearing for a later date. Parties should be advised, however, that the caseworker has the authority to transfer the matter to a Support Hearing Officer (Master) scheduled for that day if an entitlement defense is raised.
The hearings regarding Alimony Pendente Lite, counsel fees and costs follow the same format as support hearings before the Support Hearing Officer. The Support Hearing Officer will hear the issue of interim counsel fees and costs at the same time as the Alimony Pendente Lite hearing.
Parties should note that all APL Orders are collected through the Domestic Relations Office unless the Order specifically states otherwise. Payments are made through the Pennsylvania Automated Child Support Enforcement System in Harrisburg, also known as the PASCES Program, and the Domestic Relations Office maintains the records the same as the support records.
Delaware County Child Support Attorney | Media Spousal Support Attorney
Whether the party seeking child support, spousal support, or alimony pendente lite, or the party who the complaint is against, you must protect your interests. A party who is in financial need of child support to provide for his or her children, or a spouse who is financial need to maintain his or her standard of living before a divorce is filed or while a divorce is pending, must understand the process that Delaware County Family Court uses to decide not only whether support should be granted, but whether a support filing will be accepted. An attorney experienced with Delaware County child support, spousal support, APL practice and procedure will be a valuable resource as you prepare to file, and when you have your day in Court. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today to learn how he can help.