Child support is a remedy afforded to the parent who has the majority of time with the children or who has equal time but makes less money. Child support may be filed either in the county where the child lives, the defendant lives or the defendant works. In Pennsylvania, child support is based on guidelines so no matter what county in Pennsylvania you choose to file, the amount should be the same and the money is all funneled through the PACSES which is located in Harrisburg. The difference may be procedure, time and how many steps it takes you to see the Judge. For example, in Bucks County, PA, you will attend a lower level conference and if not resolved it will be scheduled for a Judge within a few weeks. In Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties, however, you will first go to a conference, then to a Master’s Hearing and then to a Judge.
You should file for support as soon as you know that you will not be living with the other parent and about six weeks prior to the date you will separate. There are no filing fees for support in any of the counties and it is one of the few times you will not have to pay a filing fee. Most counties have pre-printed forms that you can fill out to file on your own or you can hire an attorney to file it for you. Domestic Relations is the office that handles support matters and you will want to contact that office to find out the hours and location to file in your county.