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Domestic Relations


 

Domestic Relations Director:  Mary Kunkel
Domestic Relations Assistant Director:  Pierre Guichardan
Domestic Relations Intake Officer II: Stacy Kattner
Domestic Relations Officer II:  Michael Hydock
Domestic Relations Officer II:  Bridget Johnston
Domestic Relations Officer II:  Eric Johnston
Domestic Relations Officer II:  Rashunda Yuhas
Domestic Relations Support Representative:  Karen Gasker
Domestic Relations Specialist II:  Vera Koin
Domestic Relations Specialist II:  Susan Bolton
Department Clerk I:  Sheryl Popowitz
Hearing Officer: Eileen Diehl, Esquire
Phone: (570) 325-2681
Fax:     (570) 325-2443

 

Mission Statement

 

The functions of the Domestic Relations Office are to:

  • Establish paternity
  • Establish and maintain Support Orders
  • Enforce financial and medical Orders
  • Locate absent parents.

Since July 1, 1998, the Carbon County Domestic Relations Office has been a part of the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System, known as PACSES.  All counties in Pennsylvania are a part of this statewide-computerized system.  As of October 1, 1999, a centralized office in Harrisburg, known as the State Collection and Disbursement Unit (SCDU), handles all support payments and check processing.  This has changed the way support money is collected and disbursed in Carbon County.  All other services are still provided through the Carbon County Domestic Relations Office.

The Domestic Relations Office does not address problems with custody and visitation.  The appropriate legal authority to handle these matters is either an attorney or the Court.  You can contact the Prothonotary's office for more information at (570) 325-2481, or click on the CUSTODY link here for forms and instructions on filing a custody complaint.

How to Contact Us

The Carbon County Domestic Relations Office is located at 76 Susquehanna St., 2nd floor, Jim Thorpe, PA.  18229.  Our mailing address is P.O. Box 30, Jim Thorpe, PA. 18229.  Office hours are 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  You can contact the office by phone at (570) 325-2179 or (570) 325-2681 or by fax at (570) 325-2443.  You can contact SCDU for payment information at their toll free number, 1-877-727-7238.  You can also access your case through the Internet by using the PACSES portal at www.childsupport.state.pa.us

The Support Process at a Glance:

How to File:
To file a new action, an appointment is needed.  You can either stop by the office or call for an appointment date. Appointments are usually scheduled within one week of your request.  The Domestic Relations Office has a staff of qualified professionals to help you through the support process.  You can also begin a new action by filing on line.  You can access the child support website at www.childsupport.state.pa.us to start the process.  YOU WILL STILL NEED AN APPOINTMENT WITH OUR OFFICE.  When you come into the office for your appointment, the Intake officer will ask you questions and complete the paperwork needed to initiate the action.  The appointment usually takes about a half hour.  If the absent parent is out of state, it could take up to an hour to complete the paperwork.

Support Conferences:

After your initial appointment, a conference will be scheduled for local actions.  Conferences are scheduled 3-4 weeks after the filing of your support action.  If you are filing an out-of-state action (UIFSA), the paperwork filed at intake will be processed and forwarded to the appropriate state. 

 Carbon County follows RCP 1910.12.  A conference officer will conduct the support conference. Parties should plan on 2 hours for the conference.  Based on the financial information supplied by the parties, the conference officer will determine the amount of support to be paid by the absent parent.  If both parties attend the conference and an agreement is not reached at the conference, the matter will be scheduled before the Hearing Officer. If either party is not present at the conference, a recommended Order is done and sent to both parties; either party has twenty days to request a de novo hearing.  This hearing is a formal hearing where parties testify.  Based on that testimony, the Hearing Officer makes Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law.  A recommended Order is entered and again either party has twenty days to appeal this Order.  If an appeal is requested, the party must file exceptions to the recommended Order.  Local rules are then followed.  Once all the legal documents are filed, the matter is then scheduled before the Court and a Judge hears the case.  

The Domestic Relations Office is not concerned with guilt, innocence or who is at fault.  Its only concern is that the best interests of the children are served.

 

Enforcement:

            Among the tools the DRO uses to enforce support orders are:

  • Wage attachments
  • Filing judgment liens against delinquents
  • Denial of passports where arrearages reach $2,500
  • Driver's license suspensions
  • Professional license suspensions
  • Credit bureau reporting
  • Income tax refund interception
  • Contempt proceeding

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does it cost any money to file?

There is a $23.50 fee to file a complaint. If you do not have it at the time of filing we will defer this cost until the conference or you can file a petition to have the fee waived.

How long does it take to get the Support?

This depends on where the absent parent lives. If he or she lives in the county where the action is filed, it usually only takes about 4 weeks.

Can you locate a missing parent?

Over the years the computer systems have enhanced our ability to locate absent parents.  We deal with all 50 states and countries that have a treaty with the US.  Chances are very good that we'll locate any absent parent.

What if I am not the father?

Genetic tests have taken the guesswork out of this process. The Domestic Relations Office can provide this service at a minimal expense to the parties ($32 per person).  If you are excluded as the father, the action is dismissed.  IF YOU ALREADY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT YOU ARE THE FATHER, YOU WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY BE ABLE TO REQUEST GENETIC TESTING.  Once paternity is established (either through a voluntary acknowledgement or through the Court), a person must file a Petition to DISESTABLISH Paternity before genetic tests can be pursued.

What if I cannot afford to pay support?

Child support is based on State Guidelines. They take into consideration that parents have living expenses.  Your income will be applied to these guidelines and the child(rens) best interest will be addressed.

How do I find out about my payments?

The Domestic Relations Office has a 24-hour phone system that can update you on the status of your payments.  You may call the state number toll free 1-877-727-7238 for payment information or you may access the portal through the Internet at www.childsupport.state.pa.us  You will need your ten digit member number to set up a password in order to access your case information.

If you have any questions that are not addressed on this page, you can contact our office for further information. There are no stupid questions!

Legal Terms Frequently Used by DRO:

Plaintiff/Payee - a parent or other adult who has physical custody of the child(ren)

Defendant/Payor - a parent who is ordered to pay support

Complaint - a petition to the Court for a formal support order.

Court Order - a legal document that states the support obligation and other mandated support responsibilities of the plaintiff and defendant.

PASCES – Pennsylvania Child Enforcement System.

SCDU – State Collection and Disbursement Unit.