At the time of your support conference, the determination of which party will be the plaintiff and which party will be the defendant will be made by the Conference Officer based upon the incomes of the parties, the support guidelines and existing law, and the custodial arrangements at the time of the support conference. If supported by the evidence presented at the conference, the party initially named as the defendant may be deemed to be the plaintiff, even if that party did not file a complaint for support. This does not apply to parties seeking spousal support or alimony pendente lite.
Each time a party files a new complaint, or a request to modify an existing support order, a support conference is held. At the conference, the parties, and their attorneys, if applicable, meet with a Conference Officer, who is trained in the current law of calculating support. The Conference Officers will establish paternity of minor children when necessary. They calculate support obligations according to the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. They establish support orders either by agreement of the parties or by recommendation to the Court.
At the conference, the Conference Officer will review demographic information, address any paternity issues and gather information on income and certain expenses, such as child care and health insurance premiums. After the Conference Officer gathers the necessary information, he/she will calculate the support obligation and review it with the parties. If the parties agree, the Officer will prepare an order for their signature and the order will be signed by a Judge. If the parties do not agree, the Conference Officer will prepare an interim/temporary order based on his/her calculation and schedule a hearing before a Support Master. The parties will receive a hearing date prior to leaving the conference. The parties will receive a copy of the interim/temporary order after the Judge signs the order. The parties will also receive contact information for the Enforcement Officer assigned to their case.
*Please be aware that your support conference will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.