Spousal & Child Support - Common Questions

Wilkes-Barre, PA Family Law Attorneys

My Child's father is behind on child support. Do I still have to allow him to see my child?

Yes. A parent should never be denied time with a child because he or she is behind on child support. The law in PA and the Courts see support and custody as two distinct and unrelated matters. More importantly, Courts look unfavorably upon those parents who restrict or deny another parent's access to a child.  If a parent is behind on child support, contact your domestic relations case worker or an attorney to address the delinquent or unpaid support payments.Return to Top

Am I eligible to receive social security benefits from my ex-spouse?

A person may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits as a divorced spouse on a former spouse's Social Security record if he or she:

  • Was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years;
  • Is at least age 62 years old;
  • Is unmarried; and
  • Is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.
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Taxes: Who is entitled to claim children as dependents?

The parent who has primary physical custody of a child (i.e. has the child in their physical custody more than 50% of the time) is entitled to claim the child according to the IRS. Can parents agree to trade, alternate or waive the right to claim a dependent child? Yes, but the IRS will require that the custodial parent acknowledge the agreement in writing and that the other parent include a copy of that writing with their tax filing. To avoid filing inconsistent tax returns, be sure to have any agreement regarding claims to the dependency deduction clearly outlined in writing, dated and signed by each parent and file it along with your tax return.Return to Top

If I move to find a better opportunity, can I take my child with me?

Yes, but expect the conditions of your move and alternative options to be closely examined by a family law court.
The Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas approved a parent's request to relocate to Arkansas with a 2 year old child where the parent would be pursuing a professional degree in a doctoral program, would have the benefits of free tuition, a stipend and health insurance, had ties to the area of relocation and was unable to find comparable work opportunities in PA. Price v. Foster, 125 Dauph. 78 (July 20, 2012). Return to Top

If you change the character of an asset that is otherwise non-marital property, that change may convert that asset into marital property…

In the matter of Goodemote v. Goodemote, 44 A.3d 74 (Pa. Super. 2012), the Superior Court of PA considered an issue of first impression and held that the increase in value of a veteran's disability benefits, during marriage, is marital property subject to equitable distribution since those benefits were converted into a permanent investment. Notably, it did not help that the husband in this action referred to his investment as his "retirement account" during trial. Before you make any changes, consult with counsel and be sure that you understand the risks and consequences of any decisions that you make!Return to Top

Child Support Update

On September 24, 2012, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued its decision in the case of V.E. v. W.M., 2012 Pa. Super. 203. In the case, our Superior Court held that a hearing is not required before a court may enter an order for genetic testing of a child born out of wedlock. In this case, the plainitff/mother filed a complaint for support when the child was 9 days old. The defendant/father challenged the complaint by filing preliminary objections denying paternity of the child. The defendant/father alleged that the plaintiff/mother was estopped from asserting he was the father because defendant/father's father was the father of the child, signed the birth certificate and accepted the child as his own. Moreover, plaintiff/mother, by her own conduct, accepted defendant/father's father as the father of the child. The Court rejected defendant/father's arguments and determined that paternity by estoppel did not apply. Return to Top