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What to expect at a child support conference

Child Support Hearing

When we discuss divorce, custody, and child support with clients, child support almost always increases concern and uncertainty among clients. Once a child support complaint has been filed by a party, a child support conference is scheduled. What is and what should a client expect at a child support conference?

A child support conference is held in front of a conference officer at the county domestic relations office.  Usually, each party and their respective legal counsel attends the conference. Generally, unless extraordinary circumstances exist, the attendees are limited to the parties.

One thing to be aware of is the surroundings.  The rooms that these conferences take place in can be quite small. It is imperative, and we inform our clients of such, that personal behavior during the conference is important. The conference officer is examining the parties to determine issues of credibility.  We have been in situations before where one party loses their cool during the conference, and the party is dismissed from the conference. It is not comfortable, but it is part of the process.

So what happens at this conference? Generally, the conference officer will use the income information provided by both parties to enter a support order. All support orders are calculated on a monthly basis. The amount of support is based mainly on both parties’ net monthly income. In Pennsylvania, the support amount is determined by using the Pennsylvania State Guidelines. The conference officer will ask the parties about their contact information, their earnings history, custody schedules if applicable, and insurance/extraordinary cost information. Each attorney will also be provided an opportunity to ask questions of both their clients and the other party.

The child support calculation is based upon the incomes of the parties and the expenses directly associated with the parties and their children. This “guideline amount” which the conference officer comes up with is based on a support matrix approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Each party will receive a copy of the support order at the conclusion of the conference along with payment and legal information. The party responsible for child support payments will receive instructions and coupons for making child support payments.

Mooney Law has provided proven and trusted representation in Family Law for over three decades. With offices spread throughout Central Pennsylvania, Mooney Law stands ready to fight for you. Call us today at 717-200-HELP to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

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