Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement Program
Child Support is money a parent pays to help provide food, clothing and other things for his or her child. Child support may include medical support, payment of uncovered medical bills and contributions to child care costs.
The Department of Human Services, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) administers the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement Program. State and federal laws govern how child support orders are established and enforced. These laws also govern how child support is collected.
COUNTY DOMESTIC RELATIONS SECTIONS
Child support enforcement services in Pennsylvania are provided by the Domestic Relations Section (DRS) of the county Court of Common Pleas. The DRS helps parents apply for child support services, establish paternity and support orders, and enforce support orders. A DRS worker will set up an appointment or help with an application. If you have domestic or family violence concerns, talk with the DRS about safety measures. There is more information regarding family violence within the Domestic Violence subpage.
The county DRS can also help if the noncustodial parent lives in another county, a different state or even another country. The noncustodial parent is the parent who does not live with the child and must pay child support.
Feel free to ask questions of the DRS worker. You should keep a written record of contacts with the DRS and the documents received from the DRS.
Applying for Child Support
When applying for child support, a complaint for child support must be filed with the court. If the mother of the child is unmarried, the DRS will need proof of the child's paternity. For additional information about establishing paternity, see subpage "establishing paternity".
The DRS will schedule a support conference and send notices with the date and time to the parents. Child support owed to the family usually begins on the date the complaint was filed.
What do I need to bring with me to the Domestic Relations Section when I apply for child support?
Bring as much information as you can regarding the noncustodial parent including name, Social Security Number, place of employment and address. Also bring along information pertaining to your income and assets and information regarding any expenses you pay for your child such as health care, day care and special needs. You should also bring a copy of the child's birth certificate and social security card, if possible.
Does it cost anything to file for Child Support?
The Fayette County DRS does not charge a filing fee.
Are there any additional fees?
The United States Congress requires collection of a $25 annual fee each year for open/active child support cases that receive at least $500 in child support payments if the custodial parent has never received cash assistance. The commonwealth will pay the $25 fee for families with collections between $500 and $1,999.99.
Who is responsible for paying the annual fee?
The $25 fee will be collected from the custodial parent in cases which have annual collections that equal or exceed $2,000.
When is the annual fee collected?
The $25 fee is collected once each Federal Fiscal Year (FFY). The FFY is the period between October 1 and September 30 of the following year. The $25 fee will be collected between October 1 to November 30 and March 1 to September 30. The fee will not be collected in the months of December, January and February.
Pennsylvania Child Support Program Website
You can learn more about the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement Program and check information about your child support case at www.childsupport.state.pa.us. You will need to establish a password to view the details of your case on this website. To access the PA Child Support Program website, log into www.childsupport.state.pa.us and register. You will be able to view details and update information about your child support case such as:
- Add or update personal contact information (address, phone number, email, etc.)
- Change your password
- Update communication preferences to either opt-in or opt-out of text messaging, email or mobile telephone communication
- Submit employment information
- View specific child support case information including payment information, scheduled appointments and docket information
- Submit support documents online
Can I submit support documents online?
Support documents may be submitted online at www.childsupport.state.pa.us through the E-Services feature. Select the "Request Support Services" button or go to the "Begin or Resume a Request for Support Services" link under the heading "I Would Like To...". E-Services can be used to submit documents required to open new support orders, modify existing orders and recover overpayments. Documents submitted online are sent electronically to your county DRS. Information about the next steps in the process will be provided after the documents are submitted.
How long will it take to complete and submit documents online?
The online document submission should take 30 minutes or less to complete.
Where do I apply for spousal support?
The county DRS also handles spousal support matters. Ask the DRS if you have questions about applying for spousal support.
Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES)
PACSES is the statewide computer system that is used by the county domestic relations sections. Case, personal and payment information are maintained in PACSES. DRS staff use PACSES to monitor support payments and enforce support orders.
For Your Information
Contact the county DRS that handles your case if you have any questions about the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement Program. You can also call the Child Support Helpline at 1-800-932-0211 for more information. There are more phone numbers and resources within the appropriate subpage.
The information contained here is not intended to give solutions for all situations. Each child support case has individual differences that may require special attention by a qualified professional at the DRS.