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Domestic violence and child support in Pennsylvania

Divorce can get extremely complicated when children are involved. Children usually do not want to part with their parents. In many situations, they would prefer for their parents to live together. However, in the best interest of the child, the court will often order one parent to have custody of the child and the other parent will pay child support.

The non-custodial parent has to pay the amount of child support that the court orders. Before the court makes a decision, both parents will be thoroughly scrutinized. If there is a suspicion of domestic violence, the court may put a family violence indicator, or FVI, on the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System for either or both parents. This is done in order to prevent confidential information from being leaked to other people or to the press.

There are certain indicators that can be used to determine if a certain case should be marked with a FVI. Protection from abuse or domestic assault is enforced for the safety of the children. This protection is from the person who is supposed to pay child support. Also, if there is reason to believe that leakage of the confidential information about that parent's address or any other sensitive information about the child could endanger the child, the case will be marked "FVI."

The court or the Domestic Relations Section may put safety measures in place if there has been any incident of domestic violence. People who get cash support are excused from pursuing child support based on domestic violence. Any individual who is a victim of domestic violence is expected to speak with the court seven days before a hearing in order to preview the safety net that is available.

Source: State.PA.us, "Pennsylvania Child Support Handbook," August 2012

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