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231 Pa. Code Rule 1910.17. Support Order. Effective Date. Change of Circumstances. Copies of Order. Priority of Distribution of Payments.

Rule 1910.17. Support Order. Effective Date. Change of Circumstances. Copies of Order. Priority of Distribution of Payments.

 (a)  An order of support shall be effective from the date of the filing of the complaint or petition for modification unless the order specifies otherwise. In a child support case, if a change in custody occurs after the date of filing, but before a domestic relations conference is held, the trier of fact shall enter a charging order going forward in favor of the primary custodian that shall be effective from the date of the change in custody. The trier of fact also may enter a retroactive arrears order in favor of the party who was the primary custodian at the time of filing. Such an order may address the period from the date of fining to the date of the change in custody. However, a modification of an existing support order may be retroactive to a date preceding the date of filing 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.

  Example: Mother has primary custody of the children and files for child support. Two months later, Father becomes the primary custodian. One month after the change in custody, a support conference is held. Father will be the obligee on a charging order that is retroactive to the date he became the primary custodian. However, an order also may be entered with Mother as the obligee for the two-month period from the date of filing to the date of the change in custody.

   Official Note

   The order must direct payment to be made payable to or payment to be made to the State Collection and Disbursement Unit for transmission to the obligee. See 23 Pa.C.S. §  4325.

   Subdivision (a) was amended in 2005 to include the statutory provision at 23 Pa.C.S. §  4352(e) that authorizes the court to enter a modified order that is effective to a date prior to the date on which the petition for modification was filed in certain circumstances. To the effect that the holding in Kelleher v. Bush, 832 A.2d 483 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2003), is inconsistent, it is superseded. See 23 Pa.C.S. §  4352(e) for additional provisions.

 Every order of support must contain an immediate or conditional order for the attachment of income. See Rule 1910.21.

 (b) The order shall notify the obligee and the obligor that each is under a continuing obligation to inform the domestic relations section in writing or by personal appearance and all other parties in writing 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, loss or change of income or employment and change of personal address or change of address of any child receiving support. The order shall also notify the parties that if a party willfully fails to inform the domestic relations section of the required information, the court may adjudge the party to be in contempt of court pursuant to Rules 1910.25 through 1910.25-6 and may order the party to be punished by one or more of the following: jail, fine or probation.

 (c)  A copy of the support order shall be provided to each party to the action and to the party’s attorney, if any, pursuant to Rule 440.

 (d)  The priorities for distribution of payments and/or collections from the obligor, without regard to the source of the funds or method of collection, are as follows:

   (1)  monthly current child support.

   (2)  medical, child care or other court-ordered child support-related expenses.

   (3)  monthly ordered amount toward child support arrears.

   (4)  monthly current spousal support or alimony pendente lite.

   (5)  remaining child support arrears.

   (6)  monthly ordered amount toward spousal support or alimony pendente lite arrears.

   (7)  remaining spousal support or alimony pendente lite arrears.

   (8)  court costs and fees.

Explanatory Comment—2010

   Subdivision (d) has been moved from Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-7 and expanded for clarification. It addresses the priority of the distribution of payments and collections in all cases, not just those involving multiple families. However, collections realized through the interception of federal tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service are subject to federal distribution priorities. See 45 CFR §  303.72(h). An unallocated order for child support and spousal support or child support and alimony pendente lite has the same priority as a child support order.


   The provisions of this Rule 1910.17 amended November 7, 1988, effective January 1, 1989, 18 Pa.B. 5326; amended November 22, 1994, effective January 1, 1995, 24 Pa.B. 6137; amended May 31, 2000, effective July 1, 2000, 30 Pa.B. 3155; amended May 17, 2005, effective immediately, 35 Pa.B. 3216 and 3900; amended January 12, 2010, effective May 12, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 586; amended August 26, 2011, effective November 1, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 4847; amended September 25, 2014, effective in 30 days on October 25, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 6553; amended July 30, 2018, effective January 1, 2019, 48 Pa.B. 4960. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (390547) to (390548).

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