23c4301h

 

 

CHAPTER 43

SUPPORT MATTERS GENERALLY

 

Subchapter

A.  General Provisions

B.  Support

C.  Proceedings Generally

D.  Proceedings Against Entireties Property

E.  Title IV-D Program and Related Matters

F.  New Hire Reporting

 

Enactment.  Chapter 43 was added October 30, 1985, P.L.264, No.66, effective in 90 days.

Saved from Suspension.  Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.49, adopted November 7, 1988, provided that Chapter 43 shall not be deemed suspended or affected by Rules 1910.1 through 1910.31 governing actions for support.

Cross References.  Chapter 43 is referred to in sections 5603, 6108 of this title.

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

Sec.

4301.  Scope of chapter.

4302.  Definitions.

4303.  Information to consumer reporting agency.

4304.  Cooperation of Commonwealth agencies (Repealed).

4304.1. Cooperation of government and nongovernment agencies.

4305.  General administration of support matters.

4306.  Duties of Title IV-D attorney.

4307.  State income tax intercept.

4308.  Lottery winnings intercept.

4308.1. Collection of overdue support from monetary awards.

4309.  Publication of delinquent support obligors.

23c4301s

§ 4301.  Scope of chapter.

(a)  General rule.--Actions or proceedings provided by this chapter are in addition to and not in substitution of actions or proceedings provided by unsuspended statutes where there is desertion or a failure to perform a duty to support.

(b)  Persons in institutions and foster homes.--Matters relating to the support of persons living in public or private institutions or receiving foster home care and who are otherwise entitled to support under this chapter shall be determined by the court under the statutes pertaining to those institutions or foster homes.

23c4302s

§ 4302.  Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Consumer reporting agency."  As defined in section 630(f) of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (Public Law 91-508, 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f)).

"Department."  The Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth.

"Employer."  Includes an individual, partnership, association, corporation, trust, Federal agency, Commonwealth agency or political subdivision paying or obligated to pay income.

"Genetic tests."  Includes any blood or tissue testing processes used to confirm or exclude parentage.

"Government agency."  Any agency of the Commonwealth, including departments, boards, commissions, authorities, any political subdivisions or agency of such political subdivision or local or municipal authority or other local government unit or any court or related agency.

"Income."  Includes compensation for services, including, but not limited to, wages, salaries, bonuses, fees, compensation in kind, commissions and similar items; income derived from business; gains derived from dealings in property; interest; rents; royalties; dividends; annuities; income from life insurance and endowment contracts; all forms of retirement; pensions; income from discharge of indebtedness; distributive share of partnership gross income; income in respect of a decedent; income from an interest in an estate or trust; military retirement benefits; railroad employment retirement benefits; social security benefits; temporary and permanent disability benefits; workers' compensation; unemployment compensation; other entitlements to money or lump sum awards, without regard to source, including lottery winnings; income tax refunds; insurance compensation or settlements; awards or verdicts; and any form of payment due to and collectible by an individual regardless of source.

"Judgment by operation of law."  A judgment which exists without the need for any ministerial act and which arises out of the existence of facts readily verifiable from the domestic relations section's records. The existence of a valid support order and nonpayment of the order, together, create the judgment.

"Labor organization."  The term shall have the meaning given the term in section 2(5) of the National Labor Relations Act (49 Stat. 449, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.) and shall include an entity used by the organization and an employer to carry out requirements of an agreement between the organization and the employer as set forth in section 8(f)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act.

"Net income."  Gross income minus taxes and any other deductions mandated by the employer as a condition of employment.

"Obligee."  The term shall have the meaning given in section 7101(b) (relating to short title of part and definitions).

"Obligor."  The term shall have the meaning given in section 7101(b) (relating to short title of part and definitions).

"Order of support."  Includes assistance imposed or imposable by law or by any court order or by an agency administering a State Title IV-D program, whether temporary, final or subject to modification and whether incidental to a proceeding for divorce, separate maintenance, action for failure to support a child born out of wedlock or otherwise. The term includes an order for the support and maintenance of a child, including a child who has attained the age of majority, or for the parent with whom the child is living which provides for monetary support, health care, arrearages or reimbursement and which may include related costs and fees, interest and penalties, income withholding, attorneys' fees and other relief.

"Overdue support."  Support which is delinquent under a payment schedule established by the court.

"Past due support."  Support included in an order of support which has not been paid.

"State disbursement unit."  The organizational unit established within the Department of Public Welfare responsible for collecting and disbursing support as provided in section 4374 (relating to State disbursement unit).

"Support."  Care, maintenance and financial assistance.

23c4302v

(Mar. 25, 1988, P.L.296, No.35, eff. imd.; July 2, 1993, P.L.431, No.62, eff. imd.; Apr. 4, 1996, P.L.58, No.20, eff. imd.; Oct. 16, 1996, P.L.706, No.124, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.)

 

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 added the defs. of "overdue support" and "past due support." Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended the defs. of "income" and "order of support" and added the defs. of "department," "obligee," "obligor" and "State disbursement unit." Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1996 Amendments.  Act 20 added the def. of "consumer reporting agency" and Act 124 amended the def. of "income" and added the defs. of "government agency" and "labor organization."

1993 Amendment.  Act 62 added the def. of "genetic tests."

1988 Amendment.  Act 35 added the def. of "judgment by operation of law."

References in Text.  The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.

Subsection (b) of section 7101 no longer exists. The definitions are now contained in section 7101.1

Cross References.  Section 4302 is referred to in sections 4308.1, 7501 of this title; sections 8102, 8533.1 of Title 24 (Education); sections 5102, 5953.1 of Title 71 (State Government).

23c4303s

§ 4303.  Information to consumer reporting agency.

Information regarding the name and the amount of arrearages owed by an obligor shall be provided periodically to consumer reporting agencies whenever the obligor owes overdue support, subject to the following:

(1)  The information shall be available only after the obligor owing the arrearages has been notified of the proposed action and given a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information. The notice shall be as provided by local rule of the court of common pleas.

(2)  Such information shall not be made available to:

(i)  a consumer reporting agency which the department determines not to have sufficient capability to systematically and timely make accurate use of such information; or

(ii)  an entity which has not furnished evidence satisfactory to the department that the entity is a consumer reporting agency.

23c4303v

(Apr. 4, 1996, P.L.58, No.20, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4304s

§ 4304.  Cooperation of Commonwealth agencies (Repealed).

23c4304v

 

1996 Repeal.  Section 4304 was repealed October 16, 1996, P.L.706, No.124, effective in 60 days.

23c4304.1s

§ 4304.1.  Cooperation of government and nongovernment agencies.

(a)  Cooperation of government agencies.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including the provisions of section 731 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal Code, all government agencies shall:

(1)  At the request of the department, provide information prescribed by the department regarding a person's wages, income, telephone numbers, addresses, Social Security numbers and date of birth, employer names, addresses and telephone numbers.

(2)  Require the Social Security number of an individual who has one on any application for a professional or occupational license or certification; a permit; a driver's license, including a commercial driver's license; a recreational license; or a marriage license. Collection of the Social Security number shall be performed in such manner as to protect its confidentiality. If the government agency uses another identifying number on the face of the application, the government agency shall advise the applicant and shall keep the Social Security number on file at the agency.

(3)  Require the Social Security number of any individual subject to a divorce decree, support order, paternity determination or acknowledgment of paternity in all records relating to the matter. Collection of the Social Security number shall be kept confidential.

(4)  Require the Social Security number of a deceased individual in records relating to the death, including the death certificate.

(b)  Cooperation of labor organizations.--Labor organizations shall at the request of the department provide information in a form prescribed by the department regarding wages, income, telephone numbers, addresses, Social Security numbers and date of birth, employer names, addresses and telephone numbers.

(b.1)  Cooperation of financial institutions.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all financial institutions doing business in this Commonwealth shall:

(1)  Provide for each calendar quarter such identifying information, asset information and benefit information as the department may specify for any obligor who owes past due support as identified by the department by name and Social Security number or other taxpayer identification number.

(2)  Upon receipt of a notice of lien or seizure order from the domestic relations section or the department, encumber or surrender, as the case may be, identified assets of an obligor who is subject to a child support lien. The Supreme Court shall by general rule prescribe the form of the order. The financial institution shall remit to the domestic relations section or to the department the assets available in the account on the date of the receipt of the notice of lien or seizure order by the financial institution. Remittance by the financial institution shall be made within a reasonable period of time.

(b.2)  Agreements between the department and financial institutions.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department and any financial institution doing business in this Commonwealth are authorized to enter into agreements for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of subsection (b.1). The agreement may specify payment of a fee by the department to the financial institution to conduct the activities in accordance with subsection (b.1)(1) which shall not exceed actual and reasonable costs incurred by the financial institution.

(c)  Penalty.--Following notice and hearing, the department may impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation upon any government agency, labor organization or financial institution which willfully fails to comply with a request by the department for information pursuant to this section.

(d)  Confidentiality.--Any information provided or collected pursuant to this section shall be confidential and may be used by the department, the court or the domestic relations section solely for purposes of child and spousal support enforcement and, to the extent allowed by Federal law, for administration of public assistance programs. Any person, government agency, employer or agent of the department who divulges such information in a manner not provided in this section commits a misdemeanor of the third degree and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $1,000 per violation and costs and shall be subject to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

(d.1)  Notification.--No financial institution shall be required to notify an obligor of a request for information by the department or the court under this section.

(e)  Immunity.--A person, government agency, labor organization or financial institution providing information, encumbering or surrendering property pursuant to this section shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability to any person or entity. The department, a court, a domestic relations section or an authorized employee of such an entity requesting information under this section or ordering the seizure, encumbrance or surrender of an asset held by a financial institution shall not be subject to any civil or criminal liability. A financial institution shall not be subject to any civil or criminal liability for encumbering or surrendering assets of an obligor as required by this section. The immunity provided by this subsection shall not apply to any person or agent of a government agency, labor organization or financial institution who knowingly supplies false information under this section.

(f)  Data collection.--The department shall provide for the frequency and format, which may include automated data exchanges, for the collection of the information required in this section.

(g)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Account."  A demand deposit account, checking or negotiable withdrawal order account, savings account, time deposit account or money market mutual fund account. The term does not include trust accounts, custodian accounts or accounts under 20 Pa.C.S. Ch. 53 (relating to the Pennsylvania Uniform Transfers to Minors Act).

"Asset information."  Account balances, deposits, withdrawals, interest, investments, trusts, dividends, certificates of deposits and other asset information.

"Benefit information."  Information regarding financial or health care benefits to which an individual may be entitled from government, an employer, an insurer or other source.

"Financial institution."  A depository institution, as defined by section 3(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (64 Stat. 873, 12 U.S.C. § 1813(c)); an institution-affiliated party, as defined by section 3(u) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act; a Federal credit union or State credit union, as defined in section 101 of the Federal Credit Union Act (48 Stat. 1216, 12 U.S.C. § 1752), including an institution-affiliated party of such a credit union, as defined in section 206(r) of the Federal Credit Union Act; and a benefit association, insurer, safe deposit company, money market mutual fund or similar entity authorized to do business in this Commonwealth.

"Identifying information."  Name, record address, Social Security number or other taxpayer identification number.

"Insurer."  A foreign or domestic insurance company, association or exchange holding a certificate of authority under the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.682, No.284), known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921; a risk-assuming preferred provider organization operating under section 630 of The Insurance Company Law of 1921; a health maintenance organization holding a certificate of authority under the act of December 29, 1972 (P.L.1701, No.364), known as the Health Maintenance Organization Act; a fraternal benefit society holding a certificate of authority under the act of December 14, 1992 (P.L.835, No.134), known as the Fraternal Benefit Societies Code; a hospital plan corporation holding a certificate of authority under 40 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to hospital plan corporations); a professional health service plan corporation holding a certificate of authority under 40 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to professional health services plan corporations); or a similar entity authorized to do insurance business in this Commonwealth.

23c4304.1v

(Oct. 16, 1996, P.L.706, No.124, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.)

 

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 amended subsec. (a)(2) and (3). Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

References in Text.  The act of December 14, 1992 (P.L.835, No.134), known as the Fraternal Benefit Societies Code, referred to in the def. of "insurer," was repealed by the act of July 10, 2002 (P.L.749, No.110). The subject matter is now contained in Article XXIV of The Insurance Company Law of 1921.

23c4305s

§ 4305.  General administration of support matters.

(a)  Powers and duties.--Subject to any inconsistent general rules and to the supervision and direction of the court, the domestic relations section shall have the power and duty to:

(1)  Process all complaints received under Parts VIII (relating to uniform interstate family support) and VIII-A (relating to intrastate family support).

(2)  Make such investigation as may be necessary.

(3)  Take charge of any obligor before or after hearing, as may be directed by the court.

(4)  Collect and pay over to the persons entitled thereto moneys received pursuant to support proceedings.

(5)  Keep a full and complete record of all support proceedings, including orders of the court.

(6)  Keep account of all payments made under order of court and promptly bring to the attention of the court and the district attorney any default in compliance with any order of court.

(6.1)  In the case of a dispute as to the amount of an order of support proposed by the domestic relations section, issue a temporary order of support pending judicial determination. A temporary order of support under this paragraph may not be for less than the full amount of the proposed order of support being disputed.

(7)  Make effective the orders of support entered.

(8)  Furnish the court with such information and assistance as it may require and generally perform such services as it may direct relating to support proceedings.

(9)  Inform both parties to a support action that guidelines as specified in section 4322 (relating to support guidelines) are available in the domestic relations section.

(10)  Implement safeguards applicable to all confidential information received by the domestic relations section in order to protect the privacy rights of the parties, including:

(i)  safeguards against unauthorized use or disclosure of information relating to proceedings or actions to establish paternity or to establish, modify or enforce support or to make or enforce a child custody determination;

(ii)  prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to another party against whom a protective order with respect to the former party or the child has been entered; and

(iii)  prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to another person if the domestic relations section has reason to believe that the release of the information may result in physical or emotional harm to the party or the child.

(11)  Initiate judicial proceedings to void a fraudulent transfer or obtain a settlement from the transferee in the best interests of the child support obligee.

(b)  Additional powers.--Subject to the supervision and direction of the court but without the need for prior judicial order, the domestic relations section shall have the power to expedite the establishment and enforcement of support to:

(1)  Order genetic testing for the purpose of paternity establishment pursuant to section 4343 (relating to paternity).

(2)  Issue subpoenas against any entity within this Commonwealth, including for-profit, not-for-profit and governmental employers, to require production of information regarding the employment, compensation and benefits of any individual employed by the entity as an employee or contractor.

(3)  Access records of all State and local government agencies, including the following:

(i)  vital statistic records, including records of marriage, birth and divorce;

(ii)  State and local tax and revenue records, including information on residence address, employer, income and assets;

(iii)  records of real and titled personal property;

(iv)  records of occupational and professional licenses;

(v)  records of the ownership and control of corporations, partnerships and other business entities;

(vi)  employment security records;

(vii)  records of agencies administering public assistance programs;

(viii)  motor vehicle registration and operator licensing records;

(ix)  probation and parole records; and

(x)  corrections records.

(4)  Issue subpoenas for the records of public utilities and cable television companies with respect to individuals who are owed support or against whom or with respect to whom a support obligation is sought, consisting of the names and addresses of the individuals or of their employers.

(5)  Issue subpoenas for the records held by financial institutions with respect to individuals who are owed support or against whom or with respect to whom a support obligation is sought.

(6)  Issue subpoenas for financial or other information needed to establish, modify or enforce a support order.

(7)  Issue orders directing an obligor or other payor to change the payee of a support order.

(8)  Order income withholding pursuant to section 4348 (relating to attachment of income).

(9)  Increase the amount of monthly support payments for the payment of arrearages as may be provided by general rule or previous court order.

(10)  Issue orders in cases where there is a support arrearage to secure assets to satisfy current support obligation and the arrearage by:

(i)  Intercepting or seizing periodic or lump sum payments from a government agency, including unemployment compensation, workers' compensation and other benefits.

(ii)  Intercepting or seizing judgments or settlements.

(iii)  Attaching and seizing assets of the obligor held in financial institutions.

(iv)  Attaching public and private retirement funds.

(v)  Imposing liens on property.

(vi)  Directing the sheriff to levy and sell other real or personal property.

(11)  Transmit to another state a request for assistance in a case involving the enforcement of a support order and sufficient information to enable the state to which the request is transmitted to compare the information to the information in the data bases of the state. The transmittal shall serve as a certification of arrears and a certification that the state has complied with all procedural due process requirements applicable to the case.

(12)  Respond to a request for assistance received from another state. The response shall confirm the receipt of the request, the action taken and the amount of support collected and specify any additional information or action required of the requesting tribunal to obtain enforcement of the child support obligation.

(c)  Civil penalty.--In addition to initiating contempt proceedings, the domestic relations section may assess a civil administrative penalty of up to $1,000 per violation upon any person or entity which fails to comply with a subpoena or request for information under subsection (b)(2).

(d)  Due process and judicial review procedures.--Subject to general rules which may be promulgated by the Supreme Court, each court shall establish due process and judicial review procedures for domestic relations sections exercising powers under this section.

(e)  Transmission of information.--All information transmitted to this Commonwealth from another state for purposes of establishing or enforcing an order of support under this chapter may be transmitted electronically or by other methods.

23c4305v

(Mar. 25, 1988, P.L.296, No.35, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4306s

§ 4306.  Duties of Title IV-D attorney.

(a)  General rule.--The county Title IV-D attorney shall at all times aid in the enforcement of the duty of child support and child and spousal support and shall cooperate with the domestic relations section in the presentation of complaints or in any proceeding designed to obtain compliance with any order of the court.

(b)  Representation of complainant.--The district attorney, upon the request of the court or a Commonwealth or local public welfare official, shall represent any complainant in any proceeding under this subchapter.

(b.1)  Representation of Commonwealth.--In matters relating to the establishment and enforcement of child support and child and spousal support, the Title IV-D interests of the Commonwealth shall be represented, where appropriate, by the county Title IV-D attorney in a proceeding for child support and child and spousal support.

(c)  Joinder of Department of Public Welfare.--Whenever the record in any support action or proceeding indicates that the persons for whom support is sought have received public assistance from the Department of Public Welfare at any time since the initiation of the matter, the department may become a party to the action or proceeding by filing an entry of appearance. This entry of appearance may be entered without leave of court at any time and at any stage of the action or proceeding.

23c4306v

(July 2, 1993, P.L.431, No.62, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended the section heading and subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b.1). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1993 Amendment.  Section 7 of Act 62 provided that subsec. (c) shall apply to actions pending on the effective date of Act 62 under section 8(3) of Act 62.

References in Text.  The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.

23c4307s

§ 4307.  State income tax intercept.

The department shall have the authority to implement a State income tax refund intercept program pursuant to section 466(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (Public Law 74-271, 42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(3)) when, in the judgment of the department, it is cost effective to do so.

23c4307v

(Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4308s

§ 4308.  Lottery winnings intercept.

(a)  Duty of Department of Revenue.--In the case of any person winning more than $2,500 in the Pennsylvania State Lottery, the Department of Revenue shall request the department to make all reasonable efforts to determine if the winner is a delinquent support obligor prior to making any lottery winnings payment. If the winner is so found, the amount of any arrearages shall be deducted from the amount of lottery winnings and paid to the obligee in the manner provided in this title for the administration of support payments.

(b)  Duties of department.--The department shall:

(1)  Cause a search to be made periodically of the following:

(i)  Its records relative to the Title IV-D Program.

(ii)  Any information received from county domestic relations offices relative to arrearages of court-ordered child support.

(iii)  Any information received from states with reciprocal enforcement of child support relative to arrearages of court-ordered child support.

(2)  Furnish the Department of Revenue with the following information:

(i)  The department identifier.

(ii)  The obligor's full name and Social Security number.

(iii)  The amount of the arrearage and the identifier of the court order which underlies it.

(3)  Request the Department of Revenue to withhold from a lottery prizewinner the amount of any arrearage discovered pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1).

(4)  Request the Department of Revenue to pay over, whether in a lump sum or by installment, to the department that part of the prize which satisfies this arrearage and:

(i)  Deduct from the amount received from the Department of Revenue any amount assigned to the department.

(ii)  Pay over to the domestic relations section for distribution to the obligee of the child support court order the amount of prizewinnings which satisfies the arrearage owed to the obligee. This payment shall be made within 30 days of the date when the winnings are withheld.

(5)  May, if prizewinnings are insufficient to satisfy the arrearages owed under the child support order, proceed as follows:

(i)  It may collect as provided by law.

(ii)  It may reinitiate the procedures set forth in this section if the obligor wins a subsequent lottery prize.

(6)  Determine and set a fee which reflects the actual costs it and the Department of Revenue incur to administer this section, submit this calculation to the Department of Revenue for its approval, request the Department of Revenue to deduct the calculated amount from the amount to be paid to the prizewinner after the prizewinner's child support obligation has been fully satisfied and request that the deducted amount be divided between both departments based on the administrative expenses incurred by each.

(7)  Within 30 days of the date the prize was won:

(i)  Award the prizewinner the lottery prize winnings in whole or in part.

(ii)  If applicable, notify the prizewinner that the prize or a portion thereof was used to satisfy arrearages owed for court-ordered child support.

(c)  Notice.--The domestic relations section shall send a one-time notice to all obligors of existing orders informing them that arrearages may be intercepted as provided by this section.

(d)  Right to review.--A lottery prizewinner whose prize is used to satisfy an obligation under this section may appeal to the department in accordance with 2 Pa.C.S. (relating to administrative law and procedure). The appeal shall be filed within 30 days after the prizewinner is notified by the Department of Revenue that the prize has been reduced or totally withheld to satisfy the prizewinner's outstanding arrearages for child support and related obligations.

(e)  Rules and regulations.--The Department of Revenue and the department shall, in the manner provided by law, jointly promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to carry out this section.

23c4308v

(July 9, 1992, P.L.400, No.87, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended subsecs. (a), (b) heading and intro. par., (2)(i) and (4) intro. par. and (i), (d) and (e). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1992 Amendment.  Act 87 added section 4308.

23c4308.1s

§ 4308.1.  Collection of overdue support from monetary awards.

(a)  General rule.--Overdue support shall be a lien by operation of law against the net proceeds of any monetary award, as defined in subsection (i), owed to an obligor, and distribution of any such award shall be stayed in an amount equal to the child support lien provided for under this section pending payment of the lien. Except as provided in subsection (c) or (f), nothing in this section shall provide a basis for a paying agent or an insurer to delay payment of a settlement, verdict or judgment.

(b)  General procedure.--Except as provided in subsection (f), before the prevailing party or beneficiary can receive the proceeds of a monetary award, the prevailing party or beneficiary shall provide his attorney with a statement made subject to 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) that includes the prevailing party's or beneficiary's full name, mailing address, date of birth and Social Security number. The prevailing party or beneficiary shall also provide his attorney with written documentation of arrears from the Pennsylvania child support enforcement system website or, if no arrears exist, written documentation from the website indicating no arrears. The attorney shall obtain a copy of the prevailing party or beneficiary's statement and a lien report from the website at the time of the delivery of the release; the lien report shall be dated within 20 days of the date of the delivery of the release. In the event that there are arrears, the attorney shall make payment of any lien to the department's State disbursement unit from the net proceeds of any monetary award.

(c)  Pro se actions.--If the prevailing party or beneficiary is not represented by an attorney, he shall provide the statement and written documentation of arrears or no arrears provided by subsection (b) or (d) to the insurer or other paying agent responsible for distribution of the monetary award who shall make payment of any lien or disputed lien amount, as described in subsection (h), to the department's State disbursement unit from the net proceeds of any monetary award.

(d)  Use of private judgment search companies.--In lieu of receiving the statement and written documentation of arrears or no arrears provided in subsections (b), (c) and (f), an attorney or insurer may use the services of a private judgment search company approved by the department, or an insurer may use the services of the child support enforcement lien program operated through a central reporting agency approved by the department. An attorney or insurer may deduct the fee for such a judgment search from any payment to the prevailing party or beneficiary.

(e)  Immunity.--An attorney, insurer or other paying agent that makes distribution in accordance with a statement and the written documentation required under subsection (b) or the report of an approved private judgment search company under subsection (d), or an insurer which furnishes information and transmits funds under the child support enforcement lien program operated through a central reporting agency approved by the department, shall be immune from any civil, criminal or administrative penalties for making an erroneous distribution. Nothing in this section shall give rise to a claim or cause of action against an attorney or an insurer by any person who asserts he is the intended obligee of the outstanding lien for child support.

(f)  Workers' compensation awards.--With respect to any monetary award arising under the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338), known as the Workers' Compensation Act, or the act of June 21, 1939 (P.L.566, No.284), known as The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, no order providing for a payment shall be entered by the workers' compensation judge unless the prevailing party or beneficiary, who is a claimant under either or both of the acts, shall provide the judge with a statement made subject to 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 that includes the full name, mailing address, date of birth and Social Security number for the prevailing party or beneficiary who is a claimant under either or both acts. The prevailing party or beneficiary, who is a claimant under either or both of the acts shall also provide the judge with either written documentation of arrears from the Pennsylvania child support enforcement system website or, if no arrears exist, written documentation from the website indicating no arrears. The judge shall order payment of the lien for overdue support to the department's State disbursement unit from the net proceeds due the prevailing party or beneficiary who is a claimant under either or both acts.

(g)  Exception.--This section shall not apply to any monetary award due to a prevailing party or beneficiary under 12 years of age or, in the case of an award under the Workers' Compensation Act or The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, a claimant under 12 years of age.

(h)  Escrow.--In the event that there is a dispute as to the amount of arrears owed by the prevailing party, beneficiary or claimant based on a mistake of fact, the amount in dispute shall be placed in escrow in the department's State disbursement unit by the prevailing party's or beneficiary's attorney, and the escrowed funds shall not be distributed until the dispute is resolved. In such event, the distribution of the remaining net proceeds of the monetary award shall not be stayed. A mistake of fact, as used in this subsection, shall be limited to errors in the amount of arrearage or mistaken identity. Upon resolution of the dispute, the amount of arrears shall be paid to the department's State disbursement unit.

(i)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Monetary award."  Any portion of a settlement paid as a lump sum negotiated in lieu of, or subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit for, or any civil judgment or civil arbitration award that is paid as a third party claim for bodily injury or death under a property and casualty insurance policy, or paid as a workers' compensation or occupational disease act award under a workers' compensation policy. The term includes self-insurers and also applies to property and casualty and workers' compensation or occupational disease act policies which are issued by an insurer licensed or authorized to do business in this Commonwealth. The term does not include a lump sum payable through a structured settlement annuity. The term shall apply only to those settlements, judgments, civil arbitrations, Workers' Compensation Act or The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act awards which are asserted and resolved in this Commonwealth.

"Net proceeds."  Moneys in excess of $5,000 payable to a prevailing party or beneficiary, or in the case of an award under the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338), known as the Workers' Compensation Act, or the act of June 21, 1939 (P.L.566, No.284), known as The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, the claimant after payment of attorney fees, witness fees, court costs, reasonable litigation expenses, documented unpaid expenses incurred for medical treatment causally related to the claim, any workers' compensation or occupational disease indemnity or medical payment and payments to the medical assistance program under sections 1409 and 1412 of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code.

"Obligee."  The term shall have the meaning provided under section 7101(b) (relating to short title of part and definitions).

"Obligor."  The term shall have the meaning provided under section 7101(b) (relating to short title of part and definitions).

"Overdue support."  The term shall have the meaning provided under section 4302 (relating to definitions).

23c4308.1v

(July 7, 2006, P.L.1055, No.109, eff. 60 days)

 

2006 Amendment.  Act 109 added section 4308.1.

References in Text.  The short title of the act of June 13, 1967, P.L.31, No.21, known as the Public Welfare Code, referred to in subsection (i), was amended by the act of December 28, 2015, P.L.500, No.92. The amended short title is now the Human Services Code.

Subsection (b) of section 7101 no longer exists. The definitions are now contained in section 7101.1.

23c4309s

§ 4309.  Publication of delinquent support obligors.

(a)  General rule.--Any county, through its domestic relations section, may publish the names of delinquent support obligors who are in arrears 30 days or more in newspapers of general or special circulation in the county.

(b)  Immunity.--The county, its officials and newspapers shall be immune from any and all criminal and civil liability as a result of the publication of names and identities under subsection (a), unless the publication is a result of intentional misconduct by the county, its officials or newspapers.

23c4309v

(July 2, 1993, P.L.431, No.62, eff. 60 days)

 

1993 Amendment.  Act 62 added section 4309.

23c4321h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER B

SUPPORT

 

Sec.

4321.  Liability for support.

4322.  Support guideline.

4323.  Support of emancipated child.

4324.  Inclusion of spousal medical support.

4325.  Payment of order of support.

4326.  Mandatory inclusion of child medical support.

4327.  Postsecondary educational costs.

23c4321s

§ 4321.  Liability for support.

Subject to the provisions of this chapter:

(1)  Married persons are liable for the support of each other according to their respective abilities to provide support as provided by law.

(2)  Parents are liable for the support of their children who are unemancipated and 18 years of age or younger.

(2.1)  Paragraph (2) applies whether or not parental rights of the parent have been terminated due to a conviction for any of the following where the other parent is the victim and a child has been conceived as a result of the offense:

(i)  18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape);

(ii)  18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault);

(iii)  18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault), where the offense involved sexual intercourse;

(iv)  18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2 (relating to institutional sexual assault), where the offense involved sexual intercourse; or

(v)  18 Pa.C.S. § 4302 (relating to incest), where the offense involved sexual intercourse.

Paternity of the child under this paragraph shall be established through voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or blood, genetic or other type of paternity test acceptable to the court. The cost of the testing shall be borne by the parent who was convicted of the offense.

(3)  Parents may be liable for the support of their children who are 18 years of age or older.

23c4321v

(Oct. 1, 2015, P.L.172, No.40, eff. 60 days)

 

2015 Amendment.  Act 40 added par. (2.1). Section 3 of Act 40 provided that par. (2.1) shall apply to any action regarding custody of a child under Chapter 43 or 53 that is filed on or after the effective date of section 3.

23c4322s

§ 4322.  Support guideline.

(a)  Statewide guideline.--Child and spousal support shall be awarded pursuant to a Statewide guideline as established by general rule by the Supreme Court, so that persons similarly situated shall be treated similarly. The guideline shall be based upon the reasonable needs of the child or spouse seeking support and the ability of the obligor to provide support. In determining the reasonable needs of the child or spouse seeking support and the ability of the obligor to provide support, the guideline shall place primary emphasis on the net incomes and earning capacities of the parties, with allowable deviations for unusual needs, extraordinary expenses and other factors, such as the parties' assets, as warrant special attention. The guideline so developed shall be reviewed at least once every four years.

(b)  Rebuttable presumption.--There shall be a rebuttable presumption, in any judicial or expedited process, that the amount of the award which would result from the application of such guideline is the correct amount of support to be awarded. A written finding or specific finding on the record that the application of the guideline would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case shall be sufficient to rebut the presumption in that case, provided that the finding is based upon criteria established by the Supreme Court by general rule within one year of the effective date of this act.

23c4322v

(Dec. 20, 1989, P.L.654, No.81, eff. imd.)

 

Cross References.  Section 4322 is referred to in section 4305 of this title.

23c4323s

§ 4323.  Support of emancipated child.

(a)  Emancipated child.--A court shall not order either or both parents to pay for the support of a child if the child is emancipated.

(b)  Marital status of parents immaterial.--In making an order for the support of a child, no distinction shall be made because of the marital status of the parents.

23c4324s

§ 4324.  Inclusion of spousal medical support.

In addition to periodic support payments, the court may require that an obligor pay a designated percentage of a spouse's reasonable and necessary health care expenses. If health care coverage is available through an obligor or obligee at no cost as a benefit of employment or at a reasonable cost, the court shall order an obligor or obligee to provide or extend health care coverage to a spouse. Upon failure of the obligor to make this payment or reimburse the spouse and after compliance with procedural due process requirement, the court shall treat the amount as arrearages.

23c4324v

(Dec. 4, 1992, P.L.757, No.114, eff. 90 days)

 

1992 Amendment.  Section 4(1) of Act 114 provided that the amendment of section 4324 shall apply to all support orders entered, reviewed or modified on or after the effective date of Act 114.

Cross References.  Section 4324 is referred to in section 6108 of this title.

23c4325s

§ 4325.  Payment of order of support.

Unless procedures established by the department for the State disbursement unit provide otherwise, an order of support shall direct payment to be made payable to or payment to be made to the domestic relations section for transmission to the obligee or for transmission directly to a public body or public or private agency whenever the care, maintenance and assistance of the obligee is provided for by the public body or public or private agency.

23c4325v

(Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4326s

§ 4326.  Mandatory inclusion of child medical support.

(a)  General rule.--In every proceeding to establish or modify an order which requires the payment of child support, the court shall ascertain the ability of each parent to provide medical support for the children of the parties, and the order shall include a requirement for medical support to be provided by either or both parents, provided that such medical support is accessible to the children.

(b)  Noncustodial parent requirement.--If medical support is available at a reasonable cost to a noncustodial parent, the court shall require that the noncustodial parent provide such medical support to the children of the parties. In cases where there are two noncustodial parents having such medical support available, the court shall require one or both parents to provide medical support.

(c)  Custodial parent requirement.--If medical support is available at a reasonable cost to a custodial parent, the court shall require that the custodial parent provide such medical support to the children of the parties, unless adequate medical support has already been provided through the noncustodial parent. In cases where the parents have shared custody of the child and medical support is available to both, the court shall require one or both parents to provide medical support, taking into account the financial ability of the parties and the extent of medical support available to each parent.

(d)  Additional requirement.--If the court finds that medical support is not available to either parent at a reasonable cost, the court shall order either parent or both parents to obtain medical support for the parties' children which is available at reasonable cost.

(d.1)  Medical support notice.--The department shall develop a medical support notice for use by the department or domestic relations section in accordance with procedures established by the department. The medical support notice shall comply with national standards established by the Federal Government for medical support notices. The department or domestic relations section shall send the medical support notice to the employer within two business days after the date of entry of an employee who is a new hire into the Commonwealth directory of new hires under section 4392 (relating to employer reporting).

(e)  Uninsured expenses.--The court shall determine the amount of any deductible and copayments which each parent shall pay. In addition, the court may require that either parent or both parents pay a designated percentage of the reasonable and necessary uncovered health care expenses of the parties' children, including birth-related expenses incurred prior to the filing of the complaint. Upon request of the domestic relations section, the department shall provide to the domestic relations section all birth-related expenses which the department has incurred in cases it has referred to the domestic relations section for child support services.

(f)  Proof of insurance.--Within 30 days after the entry of an order requiring a parent to provide health care coverage for a child or after any change in health care coverage due to a change in the parent's employment, the obligated parent shall submit to the other parent, or person having custody of the child, written proof that health care coverage has been obtained or that application for coverage has been made. Proof of coverage shall consist of at a minimum:

(1)  The name of the health care coverage provider.

(2)  Any applicable identification numbers.

(3)  Any cards evidencing coverage.

(4)  The address to which claims should be made.

(5)  A description of any restrictions on usage, such as prior approval for hospital admissions, and the manner of obtaining approval.

(6)  A copy of the benefit booklet or coverage contract.

(7)  A description of all deductibles and copayments.

(8)  Five copies of any claim forms.

(g)  Obligations of insurance companies.--Every insurer doing business within this Commonwealth shall be obligated as follows:

(1)  to permit the custodial parent or the provider, with the custodial parent's approval, to submit claims for covered services without the approval of the noncustodial parent and to make payment on such claims directly to such custodial parent, the provider or, in the case of Medical Assistance patients, to the department;

(2)  to provide such information to the custodial parent as may be necessary to obtain benefits, including copies of benefit booklets, insurance contracts and claims information;

(3)  if coverage is made available for dependents of the insured, to make such coverage available to the insured's children without regard to enrollment season restrictions, whether the child was born out of wedlock, whether the child is claimed as a dependent on the parent's Federal income tax return, whether the child resides in the insurer's service area, the amount of support contributed by a parent, the amount of time the child spends in the home or the custodial arrangements for the child;

(4)  to permit the enrollment of children under court order upon application of the custodial parent, domestic relations section or the department within 30 days of receipt by the insurer of the order;

(4.1)  not to disenroll or eliminate coverage of any child unless the insurer is provided satisfactory written evidence that a court order requiring coverage is no longer in effect or that the child is or will be enrolled in comparable health coverage through another insurer which will take effect no later than the effective date of such disenrollment;

(4.2)  to receive, process and pay claims (whether or not on behalf of a child), including electronically submitted claims, submitted by the department within the time permitted by law without imposing any patient signature requirement or other requirement different from those imposed upon providers, agents or assignees of any insured individual;

(5)  to provide the custodial parent who has complied with subsection (j) with the same notification of termination or modification of any health care coverage due to nonpayment of premiums or other reason as is provided to other insureds under the policy; and

(6)  except as provided in paragraph (4.2), to not take into account the fact that any individual, whether or not a child, is eligible for or is being provided medical assistance when enrolling that individual or when making any payments for benefits to the individual or on the individual's behalf.

(h)  Obligations of noninsurers.--To the maximum extent permitted by Federal law, the obligations of subsection (g) shall apply to noninsurers providing health care coverage within this Commonwealth, including health maintenance organizations, self-insured employee health benefit plans and any other entity offering a service benefit plan.

(h.1)  Obligations of employers.--Every employer doing business within this Commonwealth shall be obligated as follows:

(1)  in any case in which a parent is required by a court order to provide health coverage for a child and the parent is eligible for family health coverage, the employer shall permit the insured parent to enroll any child who is otherwise eligible without regard to any enrollment season restrictions;

(2)  if the insured parent is enrolled but fails to make application to obtain coverage for such child, to enroll the child under the family coverage upon application by the child's other parent, the domestic relations section or the department;

(3)  not to disenroll or eliminate coverage of any such child unless the employer is provided satisfactory written evidence that the court or administrative order is no longer in effect, the child is or will be enrolled in comparable health coverage which will take effect not later than the effective date of such disenrollment or the employer has eliminated family health coverage for all of its employees;

(4)  to transfer health coverage for any child to the health coverage of the employer upon receipt of a medical support notice under subsection (d.1) issued by the department or a domestic relations section within 20 business days after the date of the notice; and

(5)  to notify the domestic relations section whenever the insured parent's employment is terminated.

(i)  Obligations of custodial parent.--The custodial parent shall comply with the insurer's existing claim procedures and present to the insurer one of the following documents:

(1)  a copy of a court order as defined in subsection (l); or

(2)  a release signed by the insured permitting the insurer to communicate directly with the custodial parent.

(j)  Enforcement of order.--The employee's share, if any, of premiums for health coverage shall be deducted by the employer and paid to the insurer or other entity providing health care coverage. If an obligated parent fails to comply with the order to provide health care coverage for a child, fails to pay medical expenses for a child or receives payment from a third party for the cost of medical services provided to such child and fails to reimburse the custodial parent or provider of services, the court shall:

(1)  If, after a hearing, the failure or refusal is determined to have been willful, impose the penalties of section 4345(a) (relating to contempt for noncompliance with support order).

(2)  Enter an order for a sum certain against the obligated parent for the cost of medical care for the child and for any premiums paid or provided for the child during any period in which the obligated parent failed or refused to provide coverage. Failure to comply with an order under this paragraph shall be subject to section 4348 (relating to attachment of income).

(3)  Upon failure of the obligated parent to make this payment or reimburse the custodial parent and after compliance with due process requirements, treat the amount as arrearages.

(k)  Enforcement against insurers.--Any insurer or other entity which violates the obligations imposed upon it under subsection (g) or (h) shall be civilly liable for damages and may be adjudicated in contempt and fined by the court.

(l)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Birth-related expenses."  Costs of reasonable and necessary health care for the mother or child or both incurred before, during or after the birth of a child born in or out of wedlock which are the result of the pregnancy or birth and which benefit either the mother or child. Charges not related to the pregnancy or birth shall be excluded.

"Child."  A child to whom a duty of child support is owed.

"Health care coverage."  Coverage for medical, dental, orthodontic, optical, psychological, psychiatric or other health care services for a child. For the purposes of this section, medical assistance under Subarticle (f) of Article IV of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code, shall not be considered health care coverage.

"Insurer."  A foreign or domestic insurance company, association or exchange holding a certificate of authority under the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.682, No.284), known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921; a risk-assuming preferred provider organization operating under section 630 of The Insurance Company Law of 1921; a health maintenance organization holding a certificate of authority under the act of December 29, 1972 (P.L.1701, No.364), known as the Health Maintenance Organization Act; a fraternal benefit society holding a certificate of authority under the former act of December 14, 1992 (P.L.835, No.134), known as the Fraternal Benefit Societies Code; a hospital plan corporation holding a certificate of authority under 40 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to hospital plan corporations); a professional health service plan corporation holding a certificate of authority under 40 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to professional health services plan corporations); or a similar entity authorized to do insurance business in this Commonwealth.

"Medical child support order."  An order which relates to the child's right to receive certain health care coverage and which:

(1)  includes the name and last known mailing address of the parent providing health care coverage and the name and last known mailing address of the child;

(2)  includes a reasonable description of the type of coverage to be provided or includes the manner in which coverage is to be determined;

(3)  designates the time period to which the order applies;

(4)  if coverage is provided through a group health plan, designates each plan to which the order applies as of the date the order is written;

(4.1)  requires that, if health care coverage is provided through the noncustodial parent's employer and that parent changes employment, the provisions of the order will remain in effect for the duration of the order and will automatically apply to the new employer. The new employer shall enroll the child in health care coverage without need for an amended order unless the noncustodial parent contests the enrollment; and

(5)  includes the name and address of the custodial parent.

"Medical support."  Health care coverage, which includes coverage under a health insurance plan or government-subsidized health care coverage, including payment of costs of premiums, copayments, deductibles and capitation fees, and payment for medical expenses incurred on behalf of a child.

"Reasonable cost."  Cost of health care coverage that does not exceed 5% of the party's net monthly income and, if the obligor is to provide health care coverage, the cost of the premium when coupled with a cash child support obligation and other child support-related obligations does not exceed the amounts allowed by the Federal threshold set forth in the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Public Law 90-321, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.).

23c4326v

(Dec. 4, 1992, P.L.757, No.114, eff. 90 days; Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1286, No.150, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Dec. 17, 2001, P.L.942, No.112, eff. imd.; May 13, 2008, P.L.144, No.16, eff. imd.)

 

2008 Amendment.  Act 16 amended subsecs. (a), (b), (c), (d) and (l), retroactive to March 31, 2008.

2001 Amendment.  Act 112 amended subsec. (h.1) and added subsec. (d.1).

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended subsecs. (a), (e), (f) intro. par., (g)(1), (4) and (4.2), (h.1)(2) and (l). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1994 Amendment.  Act 150 amended subsecs. (g), (h), (i), (j), (k) and (l) and added subsec. (h.1). Section 5 of Act 150 provided that the amendment of section 4326 shall apply to all actions pending on the effective date of Act 150.

1992 Amendment.  Act 114 added section 4326. Section 4(1) of Act 114 provided that section 4326 shall apply to all support orders entered, reviewed or modified on or after the effective date of Act 114, and section 4(2) provided that section 4326(j) shall apply to support orders entered prior to the effective date of Act 114.

References in Text.  The act of December 14, 1992 (P.L.835, No.134), known as the Fraternal Benefit Societies Code, referred to in the def. of "insurer" in subsec. (l), was repealed by the act of July 10, 2002 (P.L.749, No.110). The subject matter is now contained in Article XXIV of The Insurance Company Law of 1921.

The short title of the act of June 13, 1967, P.L.31, No.21, known as the Public Welfare Code, referred to in subsection (l), was amended by the act of December 28, 2015, P.L.500, No.92. The amended short title is now the Human Services Code.

Cross References.  Section 4326 is referred to in sections 4348, 6108 of this title.

23c4327s

§ 4327.  Postsecondary educational costs.

(a)  General rule.--Where applicable under this section, a court may order either or both parents who are separated, divorced, unmarried or otherwise subject to an existing support obligation to provide equitably for educational costs of their child whether an application for this support is made before or after the child has reached 18 years of age. The responsibility to provide for postsecondary educational expenses is a shared responsibility between both parents. The duty of a parent to provide a postsecondary education for a child is not as exacting a requirement as the duty to provide food, clothing and shelter for a child of tender years unable to support himself. This authority shall extend to postsecondary education, including periods of undergraduate or vocational education after the child graduates from high school. An award for postsecondary educational costs may be entered only after the child or student has made reasonable efforts to apply for scholarships, grants and work-study assistance.

(b)  Action to recover educational expenses.--An action to recover educational costs may be commenced:

(1)  by the student if over 18 years of age; or

(2)  by either parent on behalf of a child under 18 years of age, but, if the student is over 18 years of age, the student's written consent to the action must be secured.

(c)  Calculation of educational costs.--In making an award under this section, the court shall calculate educational costs as defined in this section.

(d)  Grants and scholarships.--The court shall deduct from the educational costs all grants and scholarships awarded to the student.

(e)  Other relevant factors.--After calculating educational costs and deducting grants and scholarships, the court may order either parent or both parents to pay all or part of the remaining educational costs of their child. The court shall consider all relevant factors which appear reasonable, equitable and necessary, including the following:

(1)  The financial resources of both parents.

(2)  The financial resources of the student.

(3)  The receipt of educational loans and other financial assistance by the student.

(4)  The ability, willingness and desire of the student to pursue and complete the course of study.

(5)  Any willful estrangement between parent and student caused by the student after attaining majority.

(6)  The ability of the student to contribute to the student's expenses through gainful employment. The student's history of employment is material under this paragraph.

(7)  Any other relevant factors.

(f)  When liability may not be found.--A court shall not order support for educational costs if any of the following circumstances exist:

(1)  Undue financial hardship would result to the parent.

(2)  The educational costs would be a contribution for postcollege graduate educational costs.

(3)  The order would extend support for the student beyond the student's twenty-third birthday. If exceptional circumstances exist, the court may order educational support for the student beyond the student's twenty-third birthday.

(g)  Parent's obligation.--A parent's obligation to contribute toward the educational costs of a student shall not include payments to the other parent for the student's living expenses at home unless the student resides at home with the other parent and commutes to school.

(h)  Termination or modification of orders.--Any party may request modification or termination of an order entered under this section upon proof of change in educational status of the student, a material change in the financial status of any party or other relevant factors.

(i)  Applicability.--

(1)  This act shall apply to all divorce decrees, support agreements, support orders, agreed or stipulated court orders, property settlement agreements, equitable distribution agreements, custody agreements and/or court orders and agreed to or stipulated court orders in effect on, executed or entered since, November 12, 1992.

(2)  In addition, this act shall apply to all pending actions for support. This section shall not supersede or modify the express terms of a voluntary written marital settlement agreement or any court order entered pursuant thereto.

(j)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Educational costs."  Tuition, fees, books, room, board and other educational materials.

"Postsecondary education."  An educational or vocational program provided at a college, university or other postsecondary vocational, secretarial, business or technical school.

23c4327v

(July 2, 1993, P.L.431, No.62, eff. imd.)

 

1993 Amendment.  Act 62 added section 4327. See the preamble to Act 62 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to legislative intent.

23c4341h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER C

PROCEEDINGS GENERALLY

 

Sec.

4341.  Commencement of support actions or proceedings.

4342.  Expedited procedure.

4343.  Paternity.

4344.  Contempt for failure of obligor to appear.

4345.  Contempt for noncompliance with support order.

4346.  Contempt for noncompliance with visitation or partial custody order (Repealed).

4347.  Security for attendance or performance.

4348.  Attachment of income.

4349.  Consolidation of proceedings.

4350.  Effect of appeal.

4351.  Costs and fees.

4352.  Continuing jurisdiction over support orders.

4353.  Duty to report.

4354.  Willful failure to pay support order.

4355.  Denial or suspension of licenses.

23c4341s

§ 4341.  Commencement of support actions or proceedings.

(a)  Procedure.--A support action or proceeding under this chapter shall be commenced in the manner prescribed by the Rules of Civil Procedure governing actions of support.

(b)  Standing.--Any person caring for a child shall have standing to commence or continue an action for support of that child regardless of whether a court order has been issued granting that person custody of the child.

(c)  Jurisdiction.--The court shall exercise Statewide jurisdiction over the parties to a proceeding under this chapter.

23c4341v

(Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4342s

§ 4342.  Expedited procedure.

(a)  General rule.--The Supreme Court shall by general rule provide for expedited procedures for the determination of paternity and the determination and enforcement of support. The procedures shall include an office conference; a conference summary to the court by the hearing officer; an opportunity for the court to enter an order without hearing the parties; and an opportunity for the parties to demand a full hearing by the court.

(b)  Alternate procedure.--The Supreme Court shall also provide an alternate expedited procedure which may be adopted by local rule of the courts of common pleas. The procedure shall include an office conference; an evidentiary hearing before a hearing officer who shall be an attorney; a transcript of the testimony; a report and recommendation to the court by the hearing officer; and an opportunity for the filing of exceptions with and argument before the court.

(c)  Long arm procedures.--The Supreme Court shall by general rule establish procedures for the exercise of long arm jurisdiction to establish paternity and to establish and enforce support. Long arm jurisdiction shall be used in preference to proceedings under Part VIII (relating to uniform interstate family support) or VIII-A (relating to intrastate family support) unless it would be more effective to proceed otherwise. Long arm proceedings may be commenced or continued in any county where the plaintiff resides regardless of whether the parties maintained a family domicile in that county.

(d)  Jurisdiction over nonresident.--(Deleted by amendment).

(e)  Default.--The court shall enter a default order establishing paternity and enforcing support upon a showing that the defendant has been properly served and has not appeared.

(f)  Hearsay exception.--For proceedings pursuant to this section, a verified petition, affidavit or document and a document incorporated by reference in any of them which would not be excluded under the hearsay rule if given in person is admissible in evidence if given under oath by a party or witness.

(g)  Payment record.--A copy of the record of support payments certified as a true copy of the original by the custodian of the record is evidence of facts asserted in it and is admissible to show whether payments were made.

(h)  Bills.--Copies of billing statements, bills for testing for parentage and for prenatal and postnatal health care of the mother and child furnished to the adverse party at least ten days before a court proceeding are admissible in evidence to prove the amount of the charges billed and to prove that the charges were reasonable, necessary and customary.

(i)  Transmission of documentary evidence.--Documentary evidence transmitted to the domestic relations section by telephone, telecopier or other means which do not provide an original writing may not be excluded from evidence based on the means of transmission.

(j)  Testimony.--In a proceeding under this part, a court may permit a party or witness to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual or other electronic means at a designated location.

23c4342v

(Mar. 25, 1988, P.L.296, No.35, eff. imd.; July 2, 1993, P.L.431, No.62, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1286, No.150, eff. imd.; Apr. 4, 1996, P.L.58, No.20, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 added subsecs. (f), (g), (h), (i) and (j). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No.1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1996 Amendment.  Act 20 amended subsec. (c) and deleted subsec. (d).

1994 Amendment.  Act 150 amended subsec. (a) and added subsec. (e).

Suspension by Court Rule.  Section 4342 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(2), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it provides that long arm jurisdiction shall be used in preference to proceedings under Part VIII-A relating to intrastate family support actions.

Section 4342(f) was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(4), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule 1910.26 as it relates to record hearings in support actions.

23c4343s

§ 4343.  Paternity.

(a)  Determination.--Where the paternity of a child born out of wedlock is disputed, the determination of paternity shall be made by the court in a civil action without a jury. A putative father may not be prohibited from initiating a civil action to establish paternity. The burden of proof shall be by a preponderance of the evidence. Bills for pregnancy, childbirth, postnatal care related to the pregnancy and genetic testing are admissible as evidence without requiring third-party foundation testimony and shall constitute prima facie evidence of amounts incurred for such services or for testing on behalf of the child. If there is clear and convincing evidence of paternity on the basis of genetic tests or other evidence, the court shall upon motion of a party issue a temporary order of support pending the judicial resolution of a dispute regarding paternity. The Supreme Court shall provide by general rule for entry of a default order establishing paternity upon a showing of service of process on the defendant and a subsequent failure to appear for scheduled genetic testing.

(b)  Limitation of actions.--

(1)  An action or proceeding under this chapter to establish the paternity of a child born out of wedlock must be commenced within 18 years of the date of birth of the child.

(2)  As of August 16, 1984, the requirement of paragraph (b)(1) shall also apply to any child for whom paternity has not yet been established and any child for whom a paternity action was brought but dismissed because of a prior statute of limitations of less than 18 years.

(c)  Genetic tests.--

(1)  Upon the request of any party to an action to establish paternity, supported by a sworn statement from the party, the court or domestic relations section shall require the child and the parties to submit to genetic tests. The domestic relations section shall obtain an additional genetic test upon the request and advance payment by any party who contests the initial test.

(2)  Genetic test results indicating a 99% or greater probability that the alleged father is the father of the child shall create a presumption of paternity which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence that the results of the genetic tests are not reliable in that particular case.

(3)  To ensure the integrity of the specimen and that the proper chain of custody has been maintained, the genetic tests of the biological mother, the child or children in question and the alleged father should be conducted by an established genetic-testing laboratory in the course of its regularly conducted business activity, and certified records should be issued. The certified records shall be admissible into evidence without further foundation, authentication or proof of accuracy if no objection is made within ten days prior to trial. The laboratory must be certified by either the American Association of Blood Banks or the American Association for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.

(4)  If the court or domestic relations section orders genetic testing, the domestic relations section shall pay the cost of the test, subject to recoupment from the alleged father if paternity is established.

(5)  A determination of paternity made by another state, whether through judicial proceedings, administrative proceedings or by acknowledgment of paternity, shall be given full faith and credit in the courts of this Commonwealth.

(6)  A determination of nonpaternity made by another state with respect to a public assistance recipient shall not be binding upon the Department of Public Welfare unless the defendant shows that the department had actual notice of the proceedings, including the date and time of any trial, and a fair opportunity to participate in all material proceedings through counsel of its own choice.

23c4343v

(Dec. 20, 1989, P.L.654, No.81, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1286, No.150, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended subsecs. (a) and (c)(1), (4) and (6). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1994 Amendment.  Act 150 amended subsec. (c). Section 5 of Act 150 provided that the amendment of section 4343 shall apply to all actions pending on the effective date of Act 150.

References in Text.  The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.

Cross References.  Section 4343 is referred to in section 4305 of this title.

23c4344s

§ 4344.  Contempt for failure of obligor to appear.

A person who willfully fails or refuses to appear in response to a duly served order or other process under this chapter may, as prescribed by general rule, be adjudged in contempt. Contempt shall be punishable by any one or more of the following:

(1)  Imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months.

(2)  A fine not to exceed $500.

(3)  Probation for a period not to exceed six months.

23c4344v

 

Cross References.  Section 4344 is referred to in section 4345 of this title.

23c4345s

§ 4345.  Contempt for noncompliance with support order.

(a)  General rule.--A person who willfully fails to comply with any order under this chapter, except an order subject to section 4344 (relating to contempt for failure of obligor to appear), may, as prescribed by general rule, be adjudged in contempt. Contempt shall be punishable by any one or more of the following:

(1)  Imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months.

(2)  A fine not to exceed $1,000.

(3)  Probation for a period not to exceed one year.

(b)  Condition for release.--An order committing a defendant to jail under this section shall specify the condition the fulfillment of which will result in the release of the obligor.

23c4345v

(Oct. 16, 1996, P.L.706, No.124, eff. 60 days)

 

Cross References.  Section 4345 is referred to in sections 4326, 4353 of this title.

23c4346s

§ 4346.  Contempt for noncompliance with visitation or partial custody order (Repealed).

23c4346v

 

2010 Repeal.  Section 4346 was repealed November 23, 2010, P.L.1106, No.112, effective in 60 days.

23c4347s

§ 4347.  Security for attendance or performance.

At any stage of the proceedings under this chapter, upon affidavit filed that the obligor is about to leave this Commonwealth or the judicial district or, where in the judgment of the court, the obligor has habitually failed to comply with court orders under this chapter, the court may, as prescribed by general rule, issue appropriate process directing that the obligor be brought before the court and may direct that the obligor give security to appear when directed by the court or to comply with any order of the court.

23c4348s

§ 4348.  Attachment of income.

(a)  Existing and certain future orders.--All orders of support existing as of the effective date of this provision, as well as all orders of support entered or modified after the effective date of this provision but before June 30, 1990, shall provide for mandatory attachment of income:

(1)  if the obligor is in arrears in payment in an amount equal to or greater than one month's support obligation;

(2)  at the request of the obligor;

(3)  at the request of the obligee; or

(4)  as of July 1, 1991, except as provided by subsection (b)(1) and (2).

(b)  Future orders.--All orders of support entered or modified on or after July 1, 1990, shall, as part of the order, provide for the mandatory attachment of income unless:

(1)  the obligor is not in arrears in payment in an amount equal to or greater of one month's support obligation; and

(2)  (i)  one of the parties demonstrates, and the court finds, that there is good cause not to require immediate income withholding; or

(ii)  a written agreement is reached between the parties which provides for an alternative arrangement.

The court may, on its own motion, order the attachment of the obligor's income where the court has a reasonable basis to believe the obligor will not comply with the order of support. In making this determination, the court may consider evidence of the person's previous violations of orders entered in any jurisdiction or evidence that the obligor has attempted to conceal income or to transfer, convey or encumber property in order to reduce the obligor's support obligation. Attachment shall occur under this subsection without amendment to the order of support and, if arrearages occur, without the need for a judicial or administrative hearing.

(c)  Assessment of penalty.--The court may impose a penalty of not more than 10% on any amount in arrears for 30 days or more if the court determines that the arrearage was willful.

(d)  Arrearages.--If support arrearages exist at the time of the entry of the order, the order shall specify all of the following:

(1)  To whom an arrearage is owed and the amount of the arrearage.

(2)  The period of time for which the arrearage is calculated.

(3)  The amount of periodic support to be applied to current support and the amount to be applied to arrearages.

(4)  If support arrearages are owed to more than one obligee, how payments are to be divided and in which priority.

(5)  A direction that all payments are to be credited to current support obligations first, with any payment in excess to be applied to arrearages.

(d.1)  Insurance.--If an obligor or obligee is in violation of an order under section 4326(j)(3) (relating to mandatory inclusion of child medical support), the attachment shall be in favor of the appropriate provider of health care coverage.

(e)  Attachment process.--

(1)  The obligor shall be given notice of the attachment of his income. Such notice shall specify all of the following:

(i)  The amount to be withheld on account of current support and on account of arrears.

(ii)  That the order of attachment shall apply to current and future employers.

(iii)  That the grounds for contesting the order of attachment shall be limited to mistakes of fact. Mistakes of fact shall be limited to errors in the amount of current support owed, errors in the amount of arrearage, an attachment in excess of the maximum amount set forth in subsection (g) or mistaken identity of the obligor.

(iv)  That attachment has occurred or shall occur in all cases within ten days of the issuance of the notice.

(v)  A notice of how and when the order may be contested.

(2)  To contest the order, the obligor must appear before the domestic relations section no later than ten days after issuance of the notice, at which time it will be determined if a mistake of fact has occurred. If so, the order shall be modified accordingly.

(f)  Request of obligor.--The court shall also order the attachment of income where the obligor so requests.

(g)  Maximum amount.--The maximum amount of any attachment under this section shall not exceed the limits set forth in the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Public Law 90-321, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.).

(h)  Termination.--The court may order the termination of an order of attachment in any of the following instances:

(1)  The support obligation has terminated and the total arrearages are paid.

(2)  Where the payee cannot be located and it becomes impossible to forward payments.

(3)  The result would be unconscionable.

(i)  Notice to employer.--The employer of an obligor shall be given notice of the attachment as provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure governing support. This notice shall include reference to subsections (g), (k), (l), (n) and (o) and all of the following:

(1)  The amount to be attached.

(2)  That the attachment shall be implemented as soon as possible and no later than 14 days from the issuance of the notice to the employer.

(3)  That the attachment payment must be sent to the domestic relations section or State disbursement unit, as appropriate, within seven business days of the date the obligor is paid.

(4)  That the attachment order is binding upon the employer until further notice.

(5)  That the employer may combine attachment payments into a single payment to the domestic relations section and separately identify the portions attributable to each obligor.

(6)  That the employer must notify the domestic relations section when the obligor terminates employment and provide his last known address and the new employer's name and address, if known.

(j)  Effect of compliance by employer.--Compliance by an employer with an order of attachment of income that is regular on its face operates as a discharge of the civil liability of the employer to the obligor as to that portion of the employment income of the obligor affected. An employer shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability to any individual or agency for conduct in compliance with the order. The employer may deduct from the income of the obligor a one-time fee of $50 for reimbursement of the expense in complying with the order. In no case shall the employer's reimbursement be deducted from the amount of the support order.

(k)  Effect of noncompliance by employer.--

(1)  An employer or officer or employee thereof who willfully fails to comply with an order of attachment under this chapter may, as prescribed by general rule, be adjudged in contempt and committed to jail or fined by the court.

(2)  The employer shall be liable for any amount the employer willfully fails to withhold from income due an employee under an order of attachment of income and any amount which is withheld from such income but not forwarded to the domestic relations office.

(3)  The court may, pursuant to general rule, attach funds or property of an employer.

(l)  Disciplinary action by employer prohibited.--

(1)  When an order of attachment on income withholding is about to be or has been entered, an employer or officer or employee thereof shall not use the attachment or possibility thereof as a basis, in whole or in part, for the refusal to employ or for the discharge of an employee or for any disciplinary action against or demotion of an employee. In case of a violation of this subsection, the employer or officer or employee thereof may be adjudged in contempt and committed to jail or fined by the court.

(2)  Any employee aggrieved by a violation of this subsection shall have the substantive right to bring an action for damages by reason of such violation in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(3)  The department or a domestic relations section may impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation against any employer that willfully violates the provisions of this subsection or that willfully fails to withhold income or to pay such amounts to the State disbursement unit.

(m)  Certify income.--Upon request of the domestic relations section, the employer shall report and certify the income of an employee.

(n)  Bonding.--The court may attach forms of income other than wages, assets, including spendthrift trusts, and private, public, State, county and municipal pensions, and include bonding or other requirements in cases involving obligors whose income is from sources other than wages, in order to assure that support owed by obligors in this Commonwealth will be collected without regard to the types of these obligors' income or the nature of their income-producing activities.

(o)  Priority of attachment.--(Deleted by amendment).

(p)  Nonresidents.--Income attachment shall be available to obligees residing outside this Commonwealth where the income of the obligor is derived in this Commonwealth.

(q)  Priority of attachment.--An order of attachment for support shall have priority over any attachment, execution, garnishment or wage assignment. The Supreme Court shall by general rule provide for priorities for withholding and allocating income withheld for multiple child support obligees received by an employer for the same obligor under this section and Chapter 75 (relating to direct enforcement of order of another state without registration).

(r)  Information requests.--

(1)  Upon the request of the department, a county domestic relations section or a child support agency of another state, any employer doing business within this Commonwealth, including a for-profit, not-for-profit or governmental employer, shall promptly provide information regarding the employment, compensation and benefits of any employee or contractor of the employer.

(2)  In addition to any other remedy allowed by law, the department may impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation on an individual or entity that willfully fails to comply with a request for information under paragraph (1).

23c4348v

(Dec. 20, 1989, P.L.654, No.81, eff. imd.; Dec. 4, 1992, P.L.757, No.114, eff. 90 days; Oct. 16, 1996, P.L.706, No.124, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.; July 1, 2016, P.L.443, No.64, eff. 60 days)

 

2016 Amendment.  Act 64 amended subsec. (j).

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 added subsec. (r). Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended subsecs. (b), (e)(1) intro. par., (i) and (iv) and (2), (i)(3), (j) and (l)(1), deleted subsec. (o) and added subsecs. (l)(3) and (q). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1992 Amendment.  Act 114 added subsec. (d.1). Section 4(2) of Act 114 provided that subsec. (d.1) shall apply to support orders entered prior to the effective date of Act 114.

1989 Amendment.  Act 81 amended subsecs. (a) and (b).

Cross References.  Section 4348 is referred to in sections 4305, 4326, 7101.1, 7605, 8101 of this title.

23c4349s

§ 4349.  Consolidation of proceedings.

In order to facilitate frequent and unimpeded contact between children and parents, a judge may consolidate with a support action or proceeding any proceeding commenced for visitation rights, sole or shared custody, temporary or permanent custody or any other matters pertaining to support authorized by law which fairly and expeditiously may be determined and disposed of in the support action or proceeding.

23c4350s

§ 4350.  Effect of appeal.

An appeal from an order of support entered pursuant to this chapter shall not operate as a supersedeas unless so ordered by the court.

23c4351s

§ 4351.  Costs and fees.

(a)  General rule.--If an obligee prevails in a proceeding to establish paternity or to obtain a support order, the court may assess against the obligor filing fees, reasonable attorney fees and necessary travel and other reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the obligee and the obligee's witnesses. Attorney fees may be taxed as costs and shall be ordered to be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order in the attorney's own name. Payment of support owed to the obligee shall have priority over fees, costs and expenses.

(a.1)  Annual fee.--The Commonwealth shall impose a fee of $25 in each case in which an individual has never received assistance under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.) and for whom the Commonwealth has collected at least $500 of support in a Federal fiscal year. The Commonwealth shall pay the $25 fee for those cases in which the annual collection is between $500 and $1,999.99. The $25 fee shall be collected from the custodial parent in cases where annual collections equal $2,000 or more.

(b)  Lack of good cause for failure to pay on time.--If the court determines that the person subject to a child support order did not have good cause for failing to make child support payments on time, it may further assess costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the party seeking to enforce the order.

23c4351v

(Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; May 13, 2008, P.L.144, No.16, eff. imd.)

 

2008 Amendment.  Act 16 added subsec. (a.1), retroactive to March 31, 2008.

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

Cross References.  Section 4351 is referred to in section 4374 of this title.

23c4352s

§ 4352.  Continuing jurisdiction over support orders.

(a)  General rule.--The court making an order of support shall at all times maintain jurisdiction of the matter for the purpose of enforcement of the order and for the purpose of increasing, decreasing, modifying or rescinding the order unless otherwise provided by Part VIII (relating to uniform interstate family support) or VIII-A (relating to intrastate family support) without limiting the right of the obligee, or the department if it has an assignment or other interest, to institute additional proceedings for support in any county in which the obligor resides or in which property of the obligor is situated. The Supreme Court shall by general rule establish procedures by which each interested party shall be notified of all proceedings in which support obligations might be established or modified and shall receive a copy of any order issued in a case within 14 days after issuance of such order. A petition for modification of a support order may be filed at any time and shall be granted if the requesting party demonstrates a substantial change in circumstances.

(a.1)  Automatic review.--Upon request of either parent, or automatically if there is an assignment under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.), each order of support shall be reviewed at least once every three years from the date of establishment or the most recent review. The review shall be for the purpose of making any appropriate increase, decrease, modification or rescission of the order. During the review, taking into the account the best interest of the child involved, the court shall adjust the order, without requiring proof of a change in circumstances, by applying the Statewide guidelines or a cost-of-living adjustment in accordance with a formula developed by general rule. Automated methods, including automated matches with wage or State income tax data, may be used to identify the support orders eligible for review and implement appropriate adjustments.

(a.2)  Effect of incarceration.--Incarceration, except incarceration for nonpayment of support, shall constitute a material and substantial change in circumstance that may warrant modification or termination of an order of support where the obligor lacks verifiable income or assets sufficient to enforce and collect amounts due.

(b)  Notice.--Each party subject to an automatic child support review shall receive:

(1)  thirty days' advance notice of the right of such party to request a review and adjustment of the order, except when the adjustment results from a cost-of-living adjustment or other automated adjustment;

(2)  a copy of any order establishing, modifying or rescinding a child support obligation or, in the case of a denied petition for modification, a notice of determination that there should be no change in the amount of the child support order, within 14 days after issuance of such order or determination; and

(3)  a 30-day period from the date of the notice of a cost-of-living adjustment or other automated adjustment to request an individual review and adjustment in accordance with the Statewide guideline.

(c)  Transfer of action.--Where neither party to the action resides or is employed in the county wherein the support action was filed, the court may transfer the matter to any county wherein either party resides or where the defendant is regularly employed. If one of the parties resides outside of this Commonwealth, the action may be transferred to the county of residence or employment of the other party.

(d)  Arrears as judgments.--On and after the date it is due, each and every support obligation shall constitute a judgment against the obligor by operation of law, with the full force, effect and attributes of a judgment of court, including the ability to be enforced, and shall be entitled as a judgment to full faith and credit in this or any other state. Overdue support obligations of this or any other state which are on record at the county domestic relations section shall constitute a lien by operation of law against all real property owned by the obligor within the county as provided in subsection (d.1). The department shall develop and implement a system for providing notice to the public of liens arising out of overdue support obligations. The system and its procedures shall ensure convenient access to lien information and shall address hours of access by the business community and the general public and access via modem or automated means. Thirty days after publication of notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin that the system has been established, any lien on record shall constitute a lien against any real property in this Commonwealth owned by the obligor and shall also have the effect of a fully perfected security interest in personal property owned by the obligor in which a security interest can arise. The department shall consult with the Department of Transportation in the development of this system to enforce compliance with this subsection as it applies to liens on motor vehicles. The Supreme Court shall by general rule establish procedures for the recording of liens of other states at the county domestic relations section and for the enforcement of liens arising from overdue support without prior judicial notice or hearing. A bona fide good faith purchaser of personal property for value which is subject to a lien under this subsection acquires all title which the transferor had or had the power to transfer pursuant to 13 Pa.C.S. Ch. 24 (relating to title, creditors and good faith purchasers), and the obligee shall have all rights against such property which would be preserved to a fully perfected secured creditor under 13 Pa.C.S. Div. 9 (relating to secured transactions; sales of accounts, contract rights and chattel paper). The obligation for payment of arrears or overdue support shall terminate by operation of law when all arrears or overdue support has been paid.

(d.1)  Real property liens.--

(1)  Overdue support shall be a lien on real estate within the county in which the overdue support is on record at the county domestic relations section if:

(i)  the underlying support action is pending in the county domestic relations section or is being enforced by the county domestic relations section;

(ii)  notice of the existence of the support action is available to the public through a docket book or automated means; and

(iii)  the county domestic relations section is able to determine the amount of overdue support by reference to its records and is able to provide the amount of the overdue support upon request.

(2)  The priority and amount of a lien for overdue support shall be determined as follows:

(i)  The date of the lien for purposes of determining priority shall be determined separately for each unpaid overdue support payment. The date shall be the later of:

(A)  the date the obligor obtains a real property interest which may be subject to a lien;

(B)  the date the overdue support becomes a lien under paragraph (1); or

(C)  January 1, 1998.

(ii)  The amount of the lien on any date shall be the amount of overdue support shown on that date in the records of the domestic relations section.

(3)  Upon request of any person, the domestic relations section shall issue a written certification of the amount of overdue support owed by an individual as of the date of the certification and shall note on the docket the date of certification and the amount certified. The interests of any purchaser of real estate for value, mortgagee or other lienor that in good faith purchases the real estate or lends money on the security of the real estate and that records, within 30 days before or 60 days after the date of issuance of a certificate under this paragraph, a deed, mortgage or other encumbrance against the real estate shall not be subject to any lien for overdue support in excess of the amount shown on the certification.

(4)  The amount of overdue support owed by an obligor and the name of the obligor shall be public information and shall be deemed a public record subject to the act of June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred to as the Right-to-Know Law.

(5)  A lien arising from overdue support:

(i)  shall automatically attach to after-acquired property owned by the obligor;

(ii)  shall retain its priority without renewal or revival;

(iii)  shall continue to encumber the property upon sale or other transfer;

(iv)  shall not be divested upon a judicial sale or execution by a person with a lien with less priority;

(v)  shall not attach to the interest of any other co-owner in the property;

(vi)  shall expire 20 years after the due date of the last unsatisfied overdue support payment; and

(vii)  may be released by the court as against abandoned or distressed real property at the request of a governmental unit in order to facilitate the property's sale and rehabilitation.

(6)  The domestic relations section:

(i)  shall satisfy the lien promptly upon payment but no later than 60 days following receipt of the payment;

(ii)  may charge a fee not to exceed the lesser of its estimated cost of producing the report or $20 for the issuance of a lien certification or other written report of the overdue support obligations of an obligor;

(iii)  shall provide to the prothonotary of the county the identity of obligors and amount of overdue support to be used to make the information available to the public. The information shall be updated at least monthly and shall be provided by a paper listing, diskette or any other electronic means until the Statewide system under subsection (d) is implemented; and

(iv)  shall transmit at least every 60 days to credit bureaus directly or through the department reports and updates regarding the liens for overdue support.

(7)  The domestic relations section or employees thereof shall not be liable for errors in the certification of amounts of overdue support or satisfaction of liens for overdue support except as provided in 42 Pa.C.S. § 8550 (relating to willful misconduct).

(8)  Support may cease to be overdue if a revised payment schedule is established by the court, but any lien which has previously arisen against real estate shall remain in effect until paid or divested.

(9)  Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (3), the interests of any person who recorded a deed, mortgage or other instrument creating an interest in or lien against real estate on or after January 1, 1998, and before the effective date of this subsection shall not be subject to a lien for any overdue support accruing on or after the date the deed, mortgage or other instrument creating the interest or lien was recorded.

(e)  Retroactive modification of arrears.--No court shall modify or remit any support obligation, on or after the date it is due, except with respect to any period during which there is pending a petition for modification. If a petition for modification was filed, modification may be applied to the period beginning on the date that notice of such petition was given, either directly or through the appropriate agent, to the obligee or, where the obligee was the petitioner, to the obligor. However, modification may be applied to an earlier period if the petitioner was precluded from filing a petition for modification by reason of a significant physical or mental disability, misrepresentation of another party or other compelling reason and if the petitioner, when no longer precluded, promptly filed a petition. In the case of an emancipated child, arrears shall not accrue from and after the date of the emancipation of the child for whose support the payment is made.

(f)  Foreign support orders.--(Deleted by amendment).

(g)  Notice to obligors and obligees.--The domestic relations section shall mail notice to obligors and obligees of existing orders informing them that such orders may attain the status of a judgment by operation of law. The notice shall explain the nature of a judgment by operation of law and its effect. Further, the notice shall advise each party to a support proceeding of the party's duty to advise the domestic relations section of material changes in circumstance and of the necessity to promptly request a modification as soon as circumstances change.

(g.1)  Nondisclosure of certain information.--If the court finds in an ex parte or other proceeding or if an existing order provides that the health, safety or liberty of a party or child would be unreasonably put at risk by the disclosure of identifying information, the court shall order that the address of the child or party or other identifying information not be disclosed in a pleading or other document filed in a proceeding under this part. Any court order under this subsection must be docketed in the domestic relations section.

(g.2)  Work activities.--If an obligor owes overdue support with respect to any child receiving cash or medical assistance, the court shall upon motion of the department or domestic relations section order that overdue support be paid in accordance with a plan approved by the court or that the obligor participate in work activities approved by the department. Work activities include:

(1)  Subsidized or unsubsidized public or private sector employment.

(2)  Work experience programs.

(3)  Work training programs.

(4)  Community service programs.

(5)  Job search requirements.

(6)  Job readiness programs.

(7)  Education directly related to employment.

(8)  Attendance at secondary school.

(9)  For a person who has not graduated high school, study leading to a high school diploma or equivalent.

(g.3)  Voidable transfers.--The court may void any voidable transfer by the obligor pursuant to 12 Pa.C.S. Ch. 51 (relating to voidable transactions). It shall be a rebuttable presumption that a transfer by an obligor is voidable as to an obligee if the transfer was made for less than reasonably equivalent value and the transfer occurred after the initiation of a proceeding to establish or enforce support.

(h)  Applicability.--This section applies to all support orders whether entered under this chapter or any other statute.

23c4352v

(Mar. 25, 1988, P.L.296, No.35, eff. imd.; Dec. 20, 1989, P.L.654, No.81, eff. imd.; Apr. 4, 1996, P.L.58, No.20, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.; May 13, 2008, P.L.144, No.16, eff. imd.; Dec. 22, 2017, P.L.1249, No.78, eff. 60 days)

 

2017 Amendment.  Act 78 amended subsec. (g.3). See section 7 of Act 78 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.

2008 Amendment.  Act 16 amended subsec. (a.1) and added subsec. (a.2), retroactive to March 31, 2008.

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 amended subsec. (d) and added subsec. (d.1). Section 15 of Act 127 provided that nothing in Act 127 shall impair the priority or validity of any lien recorded prior to the effective date of Act 127. Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended subsecs. (a), (b) and (d) and added subsecs. (a.1), (g.1), (g.2) and (g.3). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1996 Amendment.  Act 20 amended subsec. (a) and deleted subsec. (f).

Suspension by Court Rule.  Section 4352(d) was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(5), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule 1910.22 providing that overdue support on public record at the domestic relations section constitutes a lien of record against all real property within the state of Pennsylvania which is owned by the obligor.

Section 4352(d.1) was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(6), as amended May 31, 2000, only insofar as subsection (d.1)(1) provides that the underlying support action shall either be pending at the county domestic relations section or shall be enforced by the county domestic relations section in order for a lien to arise to arise against real property located in that county.

References in Text.  Division 9 of Title 13, referred to in subsec. (d), was repealed and added by the act of June 8, 2001 (P.L.123, No.18). Present Division 9 relates to secured transactions.

The act of June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212), referred to as the Right-to-Know Law, referred to in subsec. (d.1)(4), was repealed by the act of February 14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law.

23c4353s

§ 4353.  Duty to report.

(a)  Notice of changes affecting support.--An individual who is a party to a support proceeding shall notify the domestic relations section, the department and the other parties in writing or by personal appearance within seven days of any material change in circumstances relevant to the level of support or the administration of the support order, including, but not limited to:

(1)  change of employment; and

(2)  change of personal address or change of address of any child receiving support.

(a.1)  Delivery.--In any subsequent child support enforcement action between the parties, upon sufficient showing that due diligence has been made to ascertain the location of a party, the court or the department may deem due process requirements for notice and service of process to be met with respect to the party upon delivery of written notice to the most recent residential address or employer address filed with the domestic relations section or the department pursuant to subsection (a).

(a.2)  Notice of location information.--Each party to a support proceeding shall file with the domestic relations section and the department, and update as appropriate, information on the location and identity of the party, including Social Security number, residential and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, driver's license number and name, address and telephone number of employer.

(b)  Failure to give notice.--Willful failure to comply with this section may be adjudged in contempt of court pursuant to section 4345 (relating to contempt for noncompliance with support order).

23c4353v

(Mar. 25, 1988, P.L.296, No.35, eff. imd.; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998)

 

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended subsec. (a) and added subsecs. (a.1) and (a.2). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4354s

§ 4354.  Willful failure to pay support order.

(a)  Offense defined.--An individual who willfully fails to comply with a support order of a court of this Commonwealth when the individual has the financial ability to comply with the support order commits an offense.

(b)  Application.--This section applies to all support cases, whether civil or criminal and whether the defendant is married, unmarried, separated or divorced.

(c)  Jurisdiction.--Exclusive original jurisdiction of a proceeding under this section is vested in the courts of common pleas of this Commonwealth.

(d)  Grading.--

(1)  Except as otherwise provided for in paragraph (2), an offense under this section shall constitute a summary offense.

(2)  An offense shall be graded a misdemeanor of the third degree if the individual convicted of the offense established residence outside this Commonwealth with the intention of not complying with the support order and either of the following apply:

(i)  the offense is a second or subsequent offense under this section; or

(ii)  the individual owes support in an amount equal to or greater than 12 months of the monthly support obligation.

(e)  Costs and expenses to be borne by individual.--An individual convicted of an offense under this section who is apprehended outside this Commonwealth shall, in addition to any other sentence imposed, be sentenced to pay the costs and expenses of rendition.

23c4354v

(Mar. 25, 1988, P.L.296, No.35, eff. imd.; Oct. 9, 2008, P.L.1384, No.104, eff. 60 days)

23c4355s

§ 4355.  Denial or suspension of licenses.

(a)  General rule.--Except as provided in subsection (d.1), where the domestic relations section or the department has been unable to attach the income of an obligor and the obligor owes support in an amount equal to or greater than three months of the monthly support obligation or where an individual has failed to comply with a visitation or partial custody order pursuant to section 4346 (relating to contempt for noncompliance with visitation or partial custody order) or an individual has failed, after appropriate notice, to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support proceedings, the court, the domestic relations section or the department shall issue an order directing any licensing authority to:

(1)  prohibit the issuance or renewal of a license of the obligor or other individual; or

(2)  require the suspension of the license of the obligor or other individual.

(b)  Notice to obligor or other individual.--

(1)  Prior to the issuance of an order to suspend, nonrenew or deny a license, the obligor or other individual shall be given advance notice. The notice shall specify:

(i)  The amount of arrears owed, if applicable.

(ii)  How, when and where the notice can be contested.

(iii)  That the grounds for contesting the notice shall be limited to mistakes of fact. Mistakes of fact shall be limited to errors in the amount of arrears owed or mistaken identity of the obligor.

(iv)  That an order to the licensing authority to automatically suspend, nonrenew or deny the license will occur in all cases 30 days after issuance of the notice unless the arrearage is paid, a periodic payment schedule is approved by the court or the individual is excused from the failure to comply with the warrant or subpoena.

(2)  The Supreme Court shall by general rule provide a procedure for the court or disciplinary board to deny, suspend or not renew the license of an attorney who owes past due support in a manner comparable to the procedures set forth in this section.

(c)  Order.--

(1)  Thirty days after the issuance of the notice, if the obligor has not paid the arrearage, entered into a court-approved periodic payment schedule or, if applicable, the obligor or other individual has not been excused from complying with the warrant or subpoena, the court, the domestic relations section or department shall direct or cause an order to be issued to the licensing authority to suspend or deny the issuance or renewal of a license. Upon receipt, the licensing authority shall immediately comply with the order or directive. The licensing authority shall have no authority to stay implementation of the order or to hold a hearing except in cases of mistaken identity.

(2)  An order providing for a periodic payment schedule shall also provide that failure to comply with the schedule shall result in the immediate suspension, nonrenewal or denial of the obligor's license.

(3)  Subject to section 4377(c) (relating to appeals), to contest the order, the obligor or other individual must appear before the domestic relations section not later than ten days after issuance of the order. The grounds for contesting shall be limited to mistakes of fact. If, as determined by the domestic relations section, a mistake of fact has occurred, the action shall be modified accordingly within ten days.

(d)  Reinstatement or issuance of license.--Where an order or directive has been issued pursuant to subsection (c) and the obligor has satisfied the arrearage or entered into a court-approved payment plan or, if applicable, the obligor or other individual has been excused from the failure to comply with the subpoena or warrant, the court, the domestic relations section or the department shall order or direct the licensing authority to reinstate or issue the license to the obligor or other individual. Upon receipt of the order, the licensing authority shall reinstate or issue the license immediately, provided that the obligor or other individual meets any and all other requirements for issuance or reinstatement.

(d.1)  Special procedures for operating privilege.--

(1)  Where the domestic relations section or the department has been unable to attach the income of an obligor and the obligor owes support in an amount equal to or greater than three months of the monthly support obligation or where an individual has failed, after appropriate notice, to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support proceedings, the court, the domestic relations section or the department may issue an order directing the Department of Transportation to:

(i)  prohibit the issuance or renewal of a license of the obligor or other individual; or

(ii)  require the suspension of the license of the obligor or other individual.

(2)  Prior to the issuance of an order to suspend, nonrenew or deny a license, the obligor or other individual shall be given advance notice. The notice shall specify:

(i)  The amount of arrears owed, if applicable.

(ii)  How, when and where the notice can be contested.

(iii)  That the grounds for contesting the notice shall be limited to mistakes of fact. Mistakes of fact shall be limited to errors in the amount of arrears owed or mistaken identity of the obligor.

(iv)  That an order to the Department of Transportation to automatically suspend, nonrenew or deny the license will occur in all cases 30 days after issuance of the notice unless the arrearage is paid, a periodic payment schedule is approved by the court or the individual is excused from the failure to comply with the warrant or subpoena.

(3)  Any order issued to the Department of Transportation pursuant to this section shall be issued as agreed upon by the department and the Department of Transportation. The order may be transmitted electronically or by other methods.

(4)  Upon receipt of an order or directive from a court, the domestic relations section or the department authorizing the Department of Transportation to suspend the operating privilege of an obligor or other individual, the Department of Transportation shall immediately suspend the operating privilege of that obligor or other individual. Upon receipt of an order from the court or the domestic relations section or a directive from the department authorizing the Department of Transportation to restore the operating privilege of an obligor or other individual, the Department of Transportation shall immediately restore the operating privilege of that obligor or other individual if the person complies with the provisions of 75 Pa.C.S. § 1960 (relating to reinstatement of operating privilege or vehicle registration).

(5)  An insurer may not increase premiums, impose a surcharge or rate penalty, make a driver record point assignment for automobile insurance or cancel or refuse to renew an automobile insurance policy on account of a suspension under this section.

(6)  There shall be no right to appeal from a suspension under this section pursuant to 75 Pa.C.S. § 1550 (relating to judicial review). Subject to section 4377(c) (relating to power to expedite support cases), the sole remedy shall be to petition the court which entered the underlying support order resulting in the suspension, revocation or refusal to issue or renew the license.

(d.2)  Special procedures for recreational licenses issued by Pennsylvania Game Commission.--

(1)  Where the domestic relations section or the department has been unable to attach the income of an obligor and the obligor owes support in an amount equal to or greater than three months of the monthly support obligation or where an individual has failed, after appropriate notice, to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support proceedings, the court may issue an order directing the Pennsylvania Game Commission to prohibit the issuance or renewal of a recreational license of the obligor or other individual or to require the suspension of the recreational license of the obligor or other individual.

(2)  Procedures for notice of suspension, nonrenewal or denial, issuance of the appropriate order and reinstatement of a recreational license shall be in accordance with subsections (b), (c) and (d).

(3)  Upon receipt of an order from a court requiring the Pennsylvania Game Commission to refuse to issue or renew or to revoke or suspend the recreational license of the obligor or other individual, the Pennsylvania Game Commission shall immediately comply with the order. Upon receipt of an order from the court authorizing the Pennsylvania Game Commission to restore the recreational license of an obligor or other individual, the Pennsylvania Game Commission shall immediately restore the recreational license of the obligor or other individual if the obligor or other individual complies with the provisions of 34 Pa.C.S. Ch. 27 (relating to hunting and furtaking licenses).

(4)  There shall be no right to appeal from a refusal to issue or renew or from a revocation or suspension under this section. The sole remedy shall be to petition the court which entered the underlying support order which resulted in the revocation, suspension or refusal to issue or renew the recreational license.

(d.3)  Special procedures for licenses issued by Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.--

(1)  Where the domestic relations section or the department has been unable to attach the income of an obligor and the obligor owes support in an amount equal to or greater than three months of the monthly support obligation or where an individual has failed, after appropriate notice, to comply with subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support proceedings, the court may issue an order directing the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to prohibit the issuance or renewal of a recreational license of the obligor or other individual or to require the suspension of the recreational license of the obligor or other individual.

(2)  Procedures for notice of suspension, nonrenewal or denial, issuance of the appropriate order and reinstatement of a recreational license shall be in accordance with subsections (b), (c) and (d).

(3)  Upon receipt of an order from a court requiring the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to refuse to issue or renew or to revoke or suspend the recreational license of the obligor or other individual, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission shall immediately comply with the order. Upon receipt of an order from the court authorizing the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to restore the recreational license of an obligor or other individual, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission shall immediately restore the recreational license of the obligor or other individual if the obligor or other individual complies with the provisions of 30 Pa.C.S. Ch. 27 (relating to fishing licenses).

(4)  There shall be no right to appeal from a refusal to issue or renew or from a revocation or suspension under this section. The sole remedy shall be to petition the court which entered the underlying support order which resulted in the revocation, suspension or refusal to issue or renew the license.

(d.4)  Implementation.--The department may promulgate regulations and issue directives to coordinate and carry out the provisions of this section.

(d.5)  Construction.--This section shall supersede any conflicting provision in any other State law unless the provision specifically references this section and provides to the contrary.

(d.6)  Immunity.--The court, the domestic relations section, the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission or any employee of any of these entities or any person appointed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission or the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to issue licenses and permits pursuant to the applicable provisions of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to fish) and 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to game) shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability for carrying out their duties under this section.

(e)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"License."  A license, certificate, permit or other authorization to:

(1)  engage in a profession, trade or business in this Commonwealth or a political subdivision or agency thereof; or

(2)  operate a motor vehicle for personal or commercial purposes.

"Licensing authority."  Any entity of the Commonwealth, political subdivision or agency thereof which issues a license.

"Operating privilege."  The privilege to apply for and obtain a license to use as well as the privilege to use a vehicle on a highway as authorized under Title 75 (relating to vehicles).

"Recreational license."  A hunting or fishing license.

23c4355v

(July 2, 1993, P.L.431, No.62, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.)

 

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 amended subsec. (d.6). Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1997 Amendment.  Act 58 amended the section heading and subsecs. (a), (b) heading, (1) intro. par., (i) and (iv) and (2), (c)(1) and (3), (d) and (e) and added subsecs. (d.1), (d.2), (d.3), (d.4), (d.5) and (d.6). Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

1993 Amendment.  Act 62 added section 4355.

References in Text.  Section 4346, referred to in this section, was repealed by the act of November 23, 2010 (P.L.1106, No.112).

The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.

Cross References.  Section 4355 is referred to in sections 4377, 5323 of this title.

23c4361h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER D

PROCEEDINGS AGAINST ENTIRETIES PROPERTY

 

Sec.

4361.  Execution of support order against entireties property.

4362.  Plaintiff's share of proceeds of sale.

4363.  Trustee to distribute proceeds of sale.

4364.  Credit to plaintiff who purchases property.

4365.  Rights of divorced person in entireties property sold for support.

4366.  Other enforcement remedies preserved.

 

Enactment.  Subchapter D was added December 19, 1990, P.L.1240, No.206, effective in 90 days.

23c4361s

§ 4361.  Execution of support order against entireties property.

(a)  Entry of order.--Whenever married persons hold real property by the entireties and one spouse secures an order of court against the other spouse for the support of the plaintiff spouse or of a child of both persons or the defendant or for the support of both the plaintiff spouse and child and a copy of the order has been certified to the court of common pleas of the county in this Commonwealth in which the property is situated, the order shall be entered in that court as a judgment with the same effect as if it had been recovered as a judgment of that court.

(b)  Execution on judgment.--Execution may be issued on the judgment against the real property held by the entireties, and the property may be sold in the manner provided by law for the sale of real property on execution issued on a judgment. In any writs of execution on the judgment, the defendant shall not be entitled to the benefit of 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 81 Subch. B (relating to exemptions from execution) or any other exemption statute.

(c)  Title of purchaser.--The sale of real property under this section conveys to the purchaser or purchasers thereof a good and valid title to the property and vests in the purchaser or purchasers the entire title of both the married persons in the same manner and with the same effect as if both married persons had joined in the conveyance of the property.

23c4362s

§ 4362.  Plaintiff's share of proceeds of sale.

(a)  General rule.--The plaintiff spouse shall be entitled, out of the proceeds of this sale, to such sums of money as represents the share in the property, based on the proportionate part of the original purchase money furnished by the plaintiff spouse for the purchase of the property.

(b)  Petition to court.--The plaintiff spouse may petition the court of common pleas of the county where the real property is situated, either before or after the sale of the property by execution, setting forth plaintiff's claim, and the court shall fix a date for a hearing on the petition.

(c)  Hearing and decree.--After notice and hearing, the court shall make such decree as shall be proper. At the hearing, both spouses shall be competent witnesses.

23c4362v

 

Cross References.  Section 4362 is referred to in section 4365 of this title.

23c4363s

§ 4363.  Trustee to distribute proceeds of sale.

(a)  Appointment of trustee.--The court shall, at the time of the hearing or thereafter, appoint a trustee who shall receive from the sheriff the proceeds of the sale of the property after the costs have been paid.

(b)  Disposition of proceeds.--The trustee shall, out of the proceeds, pay to the plaintiff spouse the sum of money the court decreed as plaintiff's share in the property sold and also the sums of money, and interest thereon from the time the respective items making them up became due and payable, which are due and payable under the order of support. The trustee shall also pay to the plaintiff spouse any additional sums the plaintiff may be entitled to under any order of court for the support of plaintiff or the children of defendant.

23c4364s

§ 4364.  Credit to plaintiff who purchases property.

(a)  General rule.--If the plaintiff spouse becomes the purchaser at the execution sale, the plaintiff shall be entitled to a credit on the purchase price thereof for the sum of money found by the court to represent the plaintiff's share in the property and also for the sums of money due the plaintiff from the defendant under the order of support upon which the execution was issued at the time of the sale, together with interest on the sums due the plaintiff for support from the time the respective sums become due.

(b)  Allowance or assignment of credit.--The credit shall be allowed the plaintiff by the sheriff or the plaintiff may assign the sums due the plaintiff to the purchaser of the property whereupon credit shall be given to the purchaser by the sheriff for the amount assigned.

23c4365s

§ 4365.  Rights of divorced person in entireties property sold for support.

(a)  General rule.--After the divorce of any spouse who is a tenant by the entireties of real property with the former spouse, the divorced spouse is entitled to all the rights and remedies provided in this subchapter for the collection of any sums of money ordered by a court to be paid to the divorced spouse for the support of the children of the former spouse as fully as if no divorce had occurred.

(b)  Proceeds of sale.--Upon the sale of the real property for the collection of any sums of money due the divorced spouse under an order of court, the divorced spouse shall be entitled to receive therefrom such sum of money as represents the share of the divorced spouse in the property, as ordered by the court under section 4362 (relating to plaintiff's share of proceeds of sale), together with any sums which may be due to the divorced spouse under an order of support against the former spouse.

23c4366s

§ 4366.  Other enforcement remedies preserved.

This subchapter and other provisions of this chapter do not remove from the plaintiff the rights to any other existing remedies to enforce a support order, including, but not limited to, the right of the plaintiff to institute proceedings against the real or personal property of the defendant.

23c4371h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER E

TITLE IV-D PROGRAM AND RELATED MATTERS

 

Sec.

4371.  Definitions.

4372.  Establishment of Title IV-D program.

4373.  Administration of Title IV-D program.

4374.  State disbursement unit.

4375.  Access to records.

4376.  Central registry.

4377.  Power to expedite support cases.

4378.  Assistance recipients to seek support.

4379.  Cooperation required.

4380.  Enforcement of cooperation requirements.

4381.  Garnishment of wages of Commonwealth employees.

 

Enactment.  Subchapter E was added December 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, effective January 1, 1998.

Suspension by Court Rule.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4371s

§ 4371.  Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Assistance."  Cash assistance, medical assistance or designated services provided under Article IV of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code.

"Legally responsible relative."  Effective January 1, 1997, a spouse and a parent for an unemancipated minor child.

"Secretary."  The Secretary of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth.

23c4371v

 

References in Text.  The Secretary of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Secretary of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.

References in Text.  The short title of the act of June 13, 1967, P.L.31, No.21, known as the Public Welfare Code, referred to in this section, was amended by the act of December 28, 2015, P.L.500, No.92. The amended short title is now the Human Services Code.

23c4372s

§ 4372.  Establishment of Title IV-D program.

(a)  Designation of Title IV-D agency.--The department is the Title IV-D State agency. The department shall create a single and separate organizational unit which shall be responsible for developing and implementing, subject to the approval of the secretary, a federally approved State plan for child support.

(b)  Implementation of Title IV-D requirements.--The department shall construe and implement this subchapter in order to comply with Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.). The department shall take all steps necessary to implement a federally approved State plan for child support. The department may issue regulations and orders necessary to implement a federally approved State plan for child support. The department may issue interim regulations if Federal law or regulations supersede existing statutes, regulations or court rules.

23c4373s

§ 4373.  Administration of Title IV-D program.

(a)  Parent locator service.--The department shall maintain a parent locator service for the purpose of establishing parentage, for establishing, setting the amount of, modifying or enforcing child support, establishing or enforcing visitation or custody orders and locating legally responsible relatives. The locator services shall utilize all sources of information and legally available records. In addition, the department shall utilize the parent locator service of the Federal Government pursuant to Federal law and shall only make disclosures of information to individuals as provided by Federal law.

(b)  Cooperative agreements.--The department shall undertake, either directly or pursuant to cooperative arrangements with appropriate counties, courts or law enforcement officials, including domestic relations sections, to do all of the following:

(1)  Establish paternity of children with respect to whom assistance has been received.

(2)  Secure support for children under paragraph (1) from a legally responsible relative.

(3)  Determine whether the applicant or recipient is cooperating in good faith with matters set forth in section 4379 (relating to cooperation required).

(4)  Notify the applicant or recipient of each noncooperation determination and the basis for such determination.

(5)  Make available child support and paternity determination services to any individual not receiving assistance to the extent required by Federal law and upon application submitted to the department on forms provided by the department, the payment of any application fee established by the department and the agreement to pay costs in excess of any fee out of any recovery made by the department.

(c)  Incentive payments.--The department shall make incentive payments to political subdivisions and other states consistent with Federal law whenever the political subdivision or other state enforces or collects support payable to the department.

23c4374s

§ 4374.  State disbursement unit.

(a)  Establishment.--The department shall establish and operate a State disbursement unit for collection and disbursement of payments on child support orders consistent with Federal law. The State disbursement unit shall also monitor support orders for enforcement action consistent with Federal law. At the option of the department, the domestic relations sections may be linked into the State disbursement unit and perform some or all of the functions thereof.

(b)  Collections and disbursements.--The department may require that such collections and disbursements of support as the department may specify, including those related to persons not receiving public assistance, be processed through the State disbursement unit.

(1)  The State disbursement unit shall use automated procedures, electronic processes and computer technology to the maximum extent feasible, efficient and economical for the collection and disbursement of support payments.

(2)  If an employer is ordered to withhold income from more than one obligor to pay child support and employs 15 or more persons, the employer shall make payments to the State disbursement unit through electronic payment methods.

(3)  If an employer has a history of two or more checks returned for nonsufficient funds, the employer shall make payments to the State disbursement unit through electronic funds transfer.

(4)  An employer that is not required to make payments to the State disbursement unit in accordance with this subsection may voluntarily remit support payments through electronic funds transfer to the State disbursement unit.

(b.1)  Penalty.--The department may impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, following notice and hearing, upon an employer who willfully fails to comply with the electronic funds transfer payment provisions of this section.

(c)  Allocation of collections.--Subject to subsections (d), (e), (f) and (f.1), support collected on behalf of a family shall be distributed as follows:

(1)  In the case of a family receiving cash assistance from the Commonwealth:

(i)  First, from the amount of current support collected, pass through to the assistance group the first $100 per month for one child or the first $200 per month for two or more children or the first $50 per month for spousal support, without decreasing the amount of cash assistance, provided, however, that in no event may any assistance group be paid more than one support pass-through payment per month.

(ii)  Second, calculate the Federal Government's share of the remaining amount collected.

(iii)  Third, pay the Federal Government's share and retain the remainder of the amount collected to reimburse the Commonwealth until the amount equals the amount of unreimbursed cash assistance paid to the assistance group.

(iv)  Fourth, pay to the assistance group any amounts collected in excess of the amounts distributed or retained under subparagraphs (i), (ii) and (iii).

(2)  In the case of a family that formerly received cash assistance from the Commonwealth:

(i)  first, pay to the family the current support collected that does not exceed the court-ordered amount to be paid in the month; and

(ii)  second, treat amounts collected in excess of the current support collected as arrearages and distribute as follows:

(A)  In the case of arrearages that accrued after the family ceased to receive cash assistance from the Commonwealth and which are collected after October 1, 1998:

(I)  first, pay the family up to the amount of arrearages that accrued after the family ceased to receive cash assistance from the Commonwealth;

(II)  second, treat the balance as reimbursement of assistance in an amount not to exceed the total amount of unreimbursed cash assistance paid to the family and:

(a)  pay an amount equal to the Federal share of the reimbursed amount to the Federal Government; and

(b)  retain for the Commonwealth an amount equal to the non-Federal share of the reimbursed amount; and

(III)  third, pay any remaining amount to the family.

(C)  In the case of arrearages that accrued before the family received cash assistance from the Commonwealth and which are collected after October 1, 1998:

(I)  first, pay to the family up to the amount of arrearages that accrued before the family began to receive cash assistance from the Commonwealth;

(II)  second, treat the balance as reimbursement of assistance in an amount not to exceed the total amount of unreimbursed cash assistance paid to the family and:

(a)  pay an amount equal to the Federal share of the reimbursed amount to the Federal Government; and

(b)  retain for the Commonwealth an amount equal to the non-Federal share of the reimbursed amount; and

(III)  third, pay any remaining amount to the family.

(D)  In the case of arrearages that accrued while the family received cash assistance from the Commonwealth:

(I)  first, treat the amount collected as reimbursement of assistance in an amount not to exceed the total amount of unreimbursed cash assistance paid to the family and:

(a)  pay an amount equal to the Federal share of the reimbursed amount to the Federal Government; and

(b)  retain for the Commonwealth an amount equal to the non-Federal share of the reimbursed amount; and

(II)  second, pay any remaining amount to the family.

(E)  Notwithstanding clauses (A) through (C), the right to any support obligation assigned to the Commonwealth as a condition of receiving cash assistance in effect on September 30, 1997, shall remain assigned after that date.

(F)  Except for amounts assigned to the Commonwealth under subsection (d), beginning October 1, 1998, any support arrearages collected shall be credited as follows:

(I)  first, to the period after the family ceased to receive assistance;

(II)  second, to the period before the family received assistance; and

(III)  third, to the period during which the family received assistance.

(3)  In the case of a family that never received cash assistance from the Commonwealth, all support collections shall be paid to the family with the exception of the federally mandated $25 annual fee collected from the custodial parent as required under section 4351(a.1) (relating to costs and fees).

(d)  Retention by Commonwealth.--

(1)  Arrearages collected through use of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Refund Offset Program for a family receiving cash assistance shall be retained by the Commonwealth to the extent past due support has been assigned to the department as a condition of receiving assistance. Arrearages collected through use of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Refund Offset Program for a family that formerly received cash assistance shall first be applied to the monthly support obligation, and the balance shall be applied to arrears owed the family, including assignments of arrearages that accrued before the family received assistance from the Commonwealth and that were executed between October 1, 1997, and September 30, 2009. Any remaining arrearages shall be paid to the department. The department shall pay to the Federal Government the Federal share of the amounts so retained. In no event shall the total of amounts paid to the Federal Government and retained by the department exceed the total of the amount of cash assistance paid to the family by the Commonwealth. To the extent that the amounts collected exceed the amount retained, the department shall pay the excess to the family.

(2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the federally mandated $25 annual fee collected from the custodial parent as required under section 4351(a.1) shall be retained by the department.

(e)  Child support, foster care children.--Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, amounts collected by the department as child support for months in any period on behalf of a child for whom a public agency is making foster care maintenance payments under Part E of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.) shall:

(1)  be retained by the department to the extent necessary to reimburse the Commonwealth for foster care maintenance payments made with respect to the child during such period, with appropriate reimbursement to the Federal Government to the extent of its financial participation;

(2)  be paid to the public agency responsible for supervising the placement of the child to the extent that the amounts collected exceed the foster care maintenance payments made with respect to the child during such periods but not the amounts required by a court or administrative order to be paid as support on behalf of the child during such period, and the responsible agency may use the payment in the manner it determines will serve the best interests of the child, including setting such payments aside for the child's future needs or making all or part thereof available to the person responsible for meeting the child's day-to-day needs; and

(3)  be retained by the department if any portion of the amounts collected remains after making the payments required under paragraphs (1) and (2), to the extent that such portion is necessary to reimburse the Commonwealth for any past foster care maintenance payments or payments of cash assistance which were made with respect to the child and with respect to which past collections have not previously been retained.

Any balance shall be paid to the Commonwealth agency responsible for supervising the placement of the child for use by such agency in accordance with paragraph (2).

(f)  Modification of distribution rules.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department may modify the foregoing distribution rules when necessary to comply with Federal law.

(f.1)  Distribution.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all child support arrears collected prior to October 1, 1998, shall be distributed in accordance with department procedures applying all of the provisions except subsection (b)(1) of section 457 of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 657) as in effect on August 21, 1996.

(g)  Definitions.--The following words and phrases when used in this section shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Assistance group."  The term shall have the meaning given in section 402 of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code.

"Family."  The term shall include the child for whom support is received, the custodial parent living with the child and any other person in the same assistance group as the child.

23c4374v

(Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.; July 7, 2006, P.L.1055, No.109, eff. 60 days; May 13, 2008, P.L.144, No.16)

 

2008 Amendment.  Act 16 amended subsecs. (c) and (d), effective October 1, 2008, as to subsecs. (c)(1) and (d)(1) and immediately as to the remainder of subsecs. (c) and (d). Section 5 of Act 16 provided that the amendment of subsec. (c)(3) shall apply retroactively to March 31, 2008.

2006 Amendment.  Act 109 amended subsec. (b) and added subsec. (b.1).

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 amended subsec. (c) and added subsec. (f.1). Section 14 of Act 127 provided that the amendment of section 4374 shall apply to all child support arrears collected on or after October 1, 1998. Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

References in Text.  The short title of the act of June 13, 1967, P.L.31, No.21, known as the Public Welfare Code, referred to in subsection (g), was amended by the act of December 28, 2015, P.L.500, No.92. The amended short title is now the Human Services Code.

Cross References.  Section 4374 is referred to in section 4302 of this title.

23c4375s

§ 4375.  Access to records.

(a)  Access to be granted.--The secretary or his designees in writing shall have access to all records, and the department in cooperation with all other agencies of the executive branch shall establish a single, uniform system of information clearance and retrieval. Information collected as a result of the use of tax records shall include the full name, residence or address, name and address of the employer, income and assets and the Social Security number of the noncustodial parent.

(b)  Earnings records.--The Bureau of Employment Security shall provide the department with a statement of earnings clearance upon the request of the department.

(c)  Motor vehicle registration information.--Upon request of the department, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles shall provide information as to all vehicles owned by the applicant or recipient.

23c4376s

§ 4376.  Central registry.

(a)  Central registry created.--A central registry of records shall be maintained in the department showing, as far as it is known, with respect to any absent parent against whom support is sought, all of the following:

(1)  The full and true name of such parent together with any known aliases.

(2)  The date and place of birth.

(3)  Physical description.

(4)  Social Security number.

(5)  Occupation and any special skills he may have.

(6)  Military status and Veterans' Administration or military service serial number.

(7)  Last known address and the date thereof.

(8)  The number of the driver's license.

(9)  Any further information that may be of assistance in locating the person or enforcing support.

(b)  Information for registry.--To effectuate the purposes of this section, the department may request and shall receive from all boards or other agencies of this Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, and the same are authorized to provide, such assistance and data as will enable the Federal Government, the department and other public agencies in this State or in other states to carry out their duties to locate absent parents for the support of their children. The data to be provided from tax records shall include the full name, residence or address, name and address of the employer, income and assets and the Social Security number of the noncustodial parent. The department shall utilize the parent locator service pursuant to establishment in the Department of Health and Human Services by filing in accordance with section 453(b) of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 653(b)).

(c)  Certain confidential records.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all State and local law enforcement agencies, the Board of Probation and Parole, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Transportation shall upon request provide the department, any domestic relations section or any child support agency of the Federal Government or any state with such information regarding the location of an individual as may be contained in law enforcement, probation and parole, corrections, motor vehicle registration and operator licensing records.

(d)  Limits on use.--Any records established pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be available only to public welfare offices, district attorneys, probation departments, domestic relations sections, Federal agencies and the agencies of other states conducting activities under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and courts having jurisdiction in support or abandonment proceedings or actions and only for the purposes for which the records have been established.

23c4377s

§ 4377.  Power to expedite support cases.

(a)  Administrative powers.--The department shall have Statewide jurisdiction to issue the following administrative orders to expedite the establishment and enforcement of support on behalf of any assistance recipient or nonrecipient receiving Title IV-D services:

(1)  To order any individual to submit to genetic testing for the purpose of paternity establishment.

(2)  To issue administrative subpoenas against any entity within this Commonwealth, including for-profit, not-for-profit and governmental employers, to require production of information regarding the employment, compensation and benefits of any individual employed by such entity as an employee or contractor.

(3)  To access records of all State and local government agencies, including vital statistic records (including records of marriage, birth and divorce), State and local tax and revenue records (including information on residence address, employer, income and assets), records of real and titled personal property, records of occupational and professional licenses, records of the ownership and control of corporations, partnerships and other business entities, employment security records, records of agencies administering public assistance programs, motor vehicle records, probation and parole records and corrections records.

(4)  To issue administrative subpoenas for the records of public utilities and cable television companies with respect to individuals who owe or are owed support or against whom or with respect to whom a support obligation is sought, consisting of the names and addresses of such individuals and the names and addresses of their employers.

(5)  To issue administrative subpoenas for the records held by financial institutions with respect to individuals who owe or are owed support or against whom or with respect to whom a support obligation is sought.

(6)  To issue administrative subpoenas for financial or other information needed to establish, modify or enforce a support order.

(7)  To issue orders directing an obligor or other payor to change the payee of a support order.

(8)  To order income withholding.

(9)  To increase the amount of monthly support payments for the payment of arrearages, as may be provided by general rule.

(10)  To issue administrative orders in cases where there is a support arrearage to secure assets to satisfy any current support obligation and the arrearage by:

(i)  Intercepting or seizing periodic or lump sum payments from a government agency, including unemployment compensation, workers' compensation and other benefits.

(ii)  Intercepting or seizing judgments or settlements.

(iii)  Attaching and seizing assets of the obligor held in financial institutions.

(iv)  Attaching public and private retirement funds.

(v)  Imposing liens on property.

(vi)  Directing the sheriff to levy and sell other real or personal property.

(11)  To transmit to another state, electronically or by other methods, a request for assistance in a case involving the enforcement of a support order containing sufficient information as will enable the state to which the request is transmitted to compare the information to the information in the data bases of the state. The transmittal shall serve as a certification of arrears and a certification that the state has complied with all procedural due process requirements applicable to the case.

(12)  To respond to a request for assistance received from another state. The response, which may be transmitted electronically or by other methods, shall confirm the receipt of the request, the action taken and the amount of support collected and specify any additional information or action required of the requesting tribunal to obtain enforcement of the child support obligation.

(13)  To prohibit the issuance or renewal of a license of an obligor or other individual under section 4355(a) (relating to denial or suspension of licenses) or to require the suspension of the license of an obligor or other individual pursuant to section 4355(d.1).

(b)  Enforcement authority.--The department may administratively assess a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation upon any person or entity that fails to comply with an order, subpoena or request for information issued under subsection (a). The department may make application to any court of common pleas or to the Commonwealth Court for purposes of enforcing any subpoena or final administrative order.

(c)  Appeals.--Any person aggrieved by an action of the department under this section shall have a right to appeal. An appeal of an action under subsection (a) shall be taken to an independent hearing officer designated by the department unless the appellant is challenging the validity or amount of the underlying support obligation, in which case the court having jurisdiction over the support obligation shall hear the appeal. An appeal from imposition of a civil penalty imposed under subsection (b) must be taken to the Bureau of Hearing and Appeals in the department. An appeal which is filed in the wrong tribunal shall be transferred to the correct tribunal. If no appeal is timely filed from the department action or under subsection (a) or (b), the department's action or order shall be final. An action or order of the department under this section shall remain in effect pending any appeal unless stayed for good cause shown.

(d)  Immunity.--The department and its employees shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for any good faith action taken under this section. The immunity provided by this subsection shall not apply to any individual who intentionally misuses the authority of the department for a purpose other than securing the lawful establishment or enforcement of support.

23c4377v

(Dec. 15, 1998, P.L.963, No.127, eff. imd.)

 

1998 Amendment.  Act 127 added subsec. (a)(13). Act 127 of 1998 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

Cross References.  Section 4377 is referred to in section 4355 of this title.

23c4378s

§ 4378.  Assistance recipients to seek support.

(a)  Seeking support required.--Prior to authorization, every applicant for assistance whose circumstances include the reported absence of a legally responsible relative from the household or the presence of a putative father shall appear before the domestic relations section or other applicable division of the court of common pleas. Upon the request of a family court or domestic relations section, the secretary is authorized to waive the requirement of personal appearance before a family court or domestic relations section if another procedure would be as efficient and effective. Subject to Federal approval, only when necessary, assistance shall not be authorized by the department until it has been certified that the applicant has cooperated in determining paternity and enforcing support.

(b)  Assignment.--Acceptance of assistance shall operate as an assignment to the department, by operation of law, of the assistance recipient's rights to receive support on his or her own behalf and on behalf of any family member with respect to whom the recipient is receiving assistance. Such assignment shall be effective only up to the amount of assistance received during the period that a family receives assistance. The assignment shall exclude arrears that accrued prior to receipt of assistance. The assignment shall take effect at the time that the recipient is determined to be eligible for assistance. Upon termination of assistance payments, the assignment of support rights shall terminate, provided that any amount of unpaid support obligations shall continue as an obligation to and collectible by the department to the extent of any unreimbursed assistance consistent with Federal law. Immediately upon receipt of notification from the department that a recipient has been determined to be eligible for assistance, the clerks of the appropriate courts of the Commonwealth shall transmit any and all support payments that they thereafter receive on behalf of such assistance recipients to the department. Such clerks shall continue transmitting such support payments until notified by the department that it is no longer necessary to do so. While the recipient is receiving assistance, any such support payments made to or on behalf of the assistance recipient shall be allocated to any amount due the department as assignee of the recipient's support rights consistent with Federal law. The assistance recipient shall be deemed to have appointed the department as his attorney-in-fact to endorse over to the department any and all drafts, checks, money orders or other negotiable instruments submitted for payment of support due during the time the recipient is receiving assistance on behalf of himself, herself or any family member.

(c)  Standing.--An applicant or recipient shall have standing to commence an action to obtain support for any child with respect to whom the applicant or recipient claims assistance.

23c4378v

(May 13, 2008, P.L.144, No.16, eff. Oct. 1, 2009)

 

2008 Amendment.  Act 16 amended subsec. (b).

23c4379s

§ 4379.  Cooperation required.

In accordance with a child support plan approved by the Federal Government, the department shall have the power and its duty shall be to:

(1)  Require as a condition of eligibility for assistance that an applicant or recipient:

(i)  Furnish his or her Social Security account number or, to the extent permitted by Federal law, proof of making application for a Social Security account number if the applicant or recipient has no Social Security account number.

(ii)  Assign to the department on forms provided by the department such support rights as the applicant or recipient may have individually or on behalf of any family member who is a part of the assistance group.

(iii)  Cooperate with the department in establishing the paternity of a child with respect to whom assistance is claimed unless the department determines that the applicant or recipient has good cause for failing to do so.

(iv)  Cooperate in obtaining support payments for such applicant or recipient and for a child with respect to whom such assistance is claimed or in obtaining any other payment or property due such applicant, recipient or such child unless the department determines that the applicant or recipient has good cause for failing to do so.

(2)  Require cooperation in accordance with the following:

(i)  Subject to Federal approval, only when necessary, cooperation shall include, but not be limited to, taking the following actions:

(A)  Identifying the parents of any child for whom assistance is sought or received, including appearing for scheduled genetic testing with the child and submitting to such testing.

(B)  Keeping scheduled appointments with the department or domestic relations section.

(C)  Providing truthful and accurate information and documents requested by the department or domestic relations section.

(D)  Signing and returning any forms requested by the department or domestic relations section.

(E)  Appearing as a witness and providing testimony at judicial and other hearings as requested by the domestic relations section.

(F)  Paying to the department any support payment received directly from an absent parent after an assignment of support has been made.

(ii)  Failure of the mother to identify by name the father of a child shall create a presumption of noncooperation which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence.

(iii)  Subject to Federal approval, if the applicant or recipient provides the names of two putative fathers subsequently excluded from paternity by genetic testing, the second exclusion shall create a presumption of noncooperation, which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence.

23c4379v

 

Cross References.  Section 4379 is referred to in sections 4373, 4380 of this title.

23c4380s

§ 4380.  Enforcement of cooperation requirements.

(a)  Cooperation required.--It is essential to the effective and responsible utilization of assistance funds that applicants and recipients who are caretakers of a child whose circumstances include the reported absence of a legally responsible relative from the household or presence of a putative father cooperate fully with the department and the court or domestic relations section in establishing paternity and in securing child support payments and in all matters set forth in section 4379 (relating to cooperation required).

(b)  Procedures.--

(1)  Upon application for assistance, each applicant or recipient shall be notified that his or her cooperation in the matters set forth in section 4379 shall be required as a condition of eligibility and that failure to cooperate will result in the termination of medical assistance and the reduction of the cash assistance allowance in an amount equal to not less than 25% and may, if provided by departmental regulation, result in the imposition of protective payments for any child in whose behalf the applicant or recipient seeks assistance.

(2)  If the department or domestic relations section, as applicable, determines that the applicant or recipient fails to cooperate as set forth in section 4379, unless the failure to cooperate was for good cause, the applicant or recipient shall be notified of the noncooperation determination and the basis for the noncooperation determination. The department shall notify the applicant or recipient in writing of the termination of medical assistance eligibility for the applicant or recipient, the reduction of the cash assistance allowance equal to not less than 25% and, if applicable, that protective payments will be imposed for any child so affected ten days after the date of notice. At the expiration of the ten-day period, the department shall impose the termination of medical assistance, the assistance allowance reduction and, if applicable, protective payments. Any hearing or appeal with respect to the notice of noncooperation issued by the department shall be conducted in accordance with the department's regulations governing an applicant's or a recipient's right to hearings.

(3)  Subject to Federal approval, only when necessary, if after notice and opportunity for hearing the court or domestic relations section determines that the applicant or recipient failed to cooperate as set forth in section 4379 and lacked reasonable excuse for such failure, the court shall notify the applicant or recipient and the department of the basis of the noncooperation determination and order the department to impose a sanction for noncooperation. The department shall issue a notice to the applicant or recipient to terminate medical assistance eligibility, reduce the assistance allowance by not less than 25% and, if applicable, impose a protective payment for any child so affected. The department shall implement the order of the court within ten days of receipt. Any hearing or appeals with respect to the recommendation and order of noncooperation directed by the court shall be conducted by the court in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure as may be promulgated by the Supreme Court governing actions for support. The decision to hold hearings for noncooperation cases shall be at the option of the court or domestic relations section. If the court or domestic relations section chooses not to conduct the hearings on noncooperation, appropriate court or domestic relations section personnel shall be available to provide testimonial evidence by telephone testimony at the time and location set by the department for the departmental appeal hearing. A finding of noncooperation of an applicant or recipient shall not affect an obligor's duty to pay support.

23c4381s

§ 4381.  Garnishment of wages of Commonwealth employees.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, moneys due from or payable by the Commonwealth, including any agency, instrumentality or authority thereof, due to any individual shall be subject, in like manner and to the same extent as if the Commonwealth were a private person, to legal process brought for the enforcement against such individual of his legal obligations to provide support for a child or spouse.

23c4391h

 

 

SUBCHAPTER F

NEW HIRE REPORTING

 

Sec.

4391.  Definitions.

4392.  Employer reporting.

4393.  Use of information.

4394.  Guidelines.

4395.  Confidentiality.

4396.  Penalties.

 

Enactment.  Subchapter F was added December 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, effective January 1, 1998.

Suspension by Court Rule.  Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.

23c4391s

§ 4391.  Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Date of hire."  The first day an employee performs services for remuneration.

"Employee."  An individual who is an employee within the meaning of Chapter 24 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 3401 et seq.). The term shall not include an employee of a Federal or State agency performing intelligence or counterintelligence functions if the head of the agency has determined that reporting the information required by this section with respect to the employee could endanger the safety of the employee or compromise an ongoing investigation or intelligence mission.

"Employer."  The term has the meaning given in section 3401(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 3401(d)) and includes any government agency and any labor organization.

"Newly hired employee."  The term includes:

(1)  a new employee; and

(2)  a rehired former employee who was:

(i)  laid off, furloughed, separated or granted leave without pay for more than 30 days; or

(ii)  terminated from employment.

23c4392s

§ 4392.  Employer reporting.

(a)  General rule.--For purposes of enhancing child support enforcement activities, including the location of individuals, the establishment of paternity and the enforcement of child support obligations pursuant to this subchapter, a Commonwealth directory of new hires shall be established within the Department of Labor and Industry.

(b)  Duty of employer.--Except as provided in subsection (c), each employer doing business in this Commonwealth shall provide the following information regarding a newly hired employee to the Commonwealth directory of new hires: name; home address; Social Security number; date of hire; the employer's name and address; the identifying number assigned to the employer under section 6109 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 6109); and the name and telephone number of an employer contact. The information may be submitted on a form provided by the Department of Labor and Industry or by attaching the date of hire and name and telephone number of an employer contact to the W-4 form submitted for the newly hired employee. The information may be transmitted by first class mail, magnetically, electronically or by another method authorized by the directory of new hires.

(c)  Employees in two or more states.--An employer that employs individuals in two or more states and that transmits reports magnetically or electronically may comply with subsection (b) by designating one of its offices located in a state in which the employer has employees to send the required report to the Commonwealth directory of new hires. An employer that transmits reports pursuant to this subsection shall notify the Commonwealth directory of new hires and the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing as to which state such employer has designated to send the report required under subsection (b). If the Commonwealth is so designated, the employer shall transmit information in accordance with this subchapter, including the newly hired employee's state of hire, and shall comply with all procedures adopted under this subchapter.

(d)  Time for submission.--The information required under subsection (b) shall be submitted by the employer to the Commonwealth directory of new hires no later than 20 days from the date of hire of a newly hired employee. In the case of a magnetic or electronic transmission of the information, the employer may comply by making two monthly transmissions not less than 12 days nor more than 16 days apart.

23c4392v

 

Cross References.  Section 4392 is referred to in section 4326 of this title.

23c4393s

§ 4393.  Use of information.

(a)  Access to information.--The domestic relations sections and the department shall have access to all information required under this subchapter for purposes of locating individuals, establishing paternity and establishing, modifying and enforcing child support obligations. The domestic relations sections and the department may disclose such information to its employees, agents and contractors solely for the purposes set forth in this subsection.

(b)  Department access to information.--The department shall have access to the information received by the Commonwealth directory of new hires for purposes of verifying eligibility for programs administered by the department.

(c)  Other programs.--In addition to child support enforcement, the information received by the Commonwealth directory of new hires may be utilized by the Department of Labor and Industry for purposes of administering the workers' compensation and unemployment compensation programs, including fraud detection, and to develop labor market information for economic and work force development in this Commonwealth.

(d)  National directory.--Information included in the Commonwealth directory of new hires shall be provided to the National Directory of New Hires and as otherwise required by Federal law.

23c4394s

§ 4394.  Guidelines.

The Department of Labor and Industry shall develop guidelines for employers to use to determine if an individual qualifies as an employee under this subchapter.

23c4395s

§ 4395.  Confidentiality.

All information received pursuant to this subchapter shall be confidential and shall be used only for the purposes set forth herein. A person commits a summary offense if he or she discloses information received pursuant to this subchapter to an unauthorized person or for an unauthorized purpose and shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 per offense.

23c4396s

§ 4396.  Penalties.

An employer that fails to report pursuant to this subchapter may be provided a written warning for the first violation and is subject to a civil penalty of up to $25 for each violation which is subsequent to the warning. The civil penalty shall be payable to the Department of Labor and Industry. If the failure to report or the submission of a false report is the result of a conspiracy between the employer and the employee, the employer shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500.