Child Support Legal Question in Pennsylvania?

My daughter has reached the age of 18 and is choosing to go live with her dad (who also lives in PA), she does not want to go to college until next fall when she is 19. He has only chosen to terminate child support to me for her but has tried to establish "custodialship". I would like to know if he could do that, and require me to pay child support to him while she is in college or because she chose to go live with him, is she considered emancipated? I raised her and put up with his shinanagans (ie..denying paternity, never visiting, etc.) I think he really only came back into her life (which she is so gullible, snowed) so he can "get back what's mine." ie his $$ He has a long history of non payment and has arrears etc. I know other states have college laws but for some reason PA has arguable cases against paying while emancipated or in college.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Pennsylvania - No authority to award college support. Curtis v. Kline, 542 Pa. 249, 666 A.2d 265 (1995)

    hope this helps, good luck



    [Editor's note: footnotes (if any) trail the opinion]

    [1] [J-148A-1995]







    [7] No. 6 Eastern District Appeal Docket 1994

    [8] Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Domestic Relations Section, Entered January 12, 1994 at No. 1012 N. 1984, Granting Defendant's Petition to Modify and Terminate Support

    [9] ARGUED September 21, 1995

    [10] DECIDED: October 10, 1995

    [11] OPINION


    [13] In Blue v. Blue, 532 Pa. 521, 616 A.2d 628 (1992), we declined to recognize a duty requiring a parent to provide college educational support because no such legal duty had been imposed by the General Assembly or developed by our case law. As a result of our Blue decision, the legislature promulgated Act 62 of 1993. Section 3 of the Act states:

    [14] (a) General rule. -- . . . a court may order either or both parents who are separated, divorced, unmarried or otherwise subject to an existing support obligation to provide equitably for educational costs of their child whether an application for this support is made before or after the child has reached 18 years of age.

    [15] 23 Pa.C.S. Section(s) 4327(a).

    [16] The issue now before us is whether the Act violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.*fn1 The Court of Common Pleas of Chester County held that it did, resulting in this direct appeal.*fn2

    [17] The relevant facts are not in dispute. Appellee is the father of Jason, Amber and Rebecca. On July 12, 1991, an order of court for support was entered on behalf of Appellee's children. On March 2, 1993, Appellee filed a petition to terminate his support obligation as to Amber, a student at Kutztown University, and Jason, a student at West Chester University. After Act 62 was promulgated, Appellee was granted leave to include a constitutional challenge to the Act as a basis for seeking relief from post-secondary educational support.

    [18] In accordance with Pa.R.Civ.P. 235, the Attorney General was notified of the constitutional challenge to Act 62, but declined to participate in the litigation. On January 11, 1994, the trial court granted Appellee's petition to terminate support for Amber and Jason, concluding that Act 62 violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. After Appellee's petition to modify his post-secondary education support obligation was disposed of, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) sought and was granted leave to intervene. DPW then filed a notice of appeal to this Court.

    [19] The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution in pertinent part provides:

    [20] No State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or

    [21] property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person

    [22] within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    [23] The essence of the constitutional principle of equal protection under the law is that like persons in like circumstances will be treated similarly. Laudenberger v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, 496 Pa. 52, 436 A.2d 147 (1981). However, it does not require that all persons under all circumstances enjoy identical protection under the law. James v. SEPTA, 505 Pa. 137, 477 A.2d 1302 (1984). The right to equal protection under the law does not absolutely prohibit the Commonwealth from classifying individuals for the purpose of receiving different treatment, Robson v. Penn Hills School District, 63 Pa. Cmwlth. 250, 437 A.2d 1273 (1981), and does not require equal treatment of people having different needs. Houtz v. Commonwealth, Department of Public Welfare, 42 Pa. Cmwlth. 406, 401 A.2d 388 (1979). The prohibition against treating people differently under the law does not preclude the Commonwealth from resorting to legislative classifications, Heisler v. Thomas Colliery Co., 260 U.S. 245, 43 S.Ct. 83, 67 L.Ed. 237 (1922), provided that those classifications are reasonable rather than arbitrary and bear a reasonable relationship to the object of the legislation. Commonwealth v. Parker White Metal Co., 512 Pa. 74, 515 A.2d 1358 (1986). In other words, a classification must rest upon some ground of difference which justifies the classification and have a fair and substantial relationship to the object of the legislation. Id.

    [24] Judicial review must determine whether any classification is founded on a real and genuine distinction rather than an artificial one. Equitable Credit and Discount Company v. Geier, 342 Pa. 445, 21 A.2d 53 (1941). A classification, though discriminatory, is not arbitrary or in violation of the equal protection clause if any state of facts reasonably can be conceived to sustain that classification. Federal Communications Commission v. Beach Communications, Inc. U.S., 113 S.Ct. 2096, 124 L.Ed.2d 211 (1993); Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 90 S.Ct. 1153, 25 L.Ed.2d 491 (1970). In undertaking its analysis, the reviewing court is free to hypothesize reasons the legislature might have had for the classification. Federal Communications Commission v. Beach Communications, Inc.; Martin v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, 502 Pa. 282, 466 A.2d 107 (1983). If the court determines that the classifications are genuine, it cannot declare the classification void even if it might question the soundness or wisdom of the distinction. Equitable Credit and Discount Company v. Geier.*fn3

    [25] We are also mindful of the different types of classifications and the standards according to which they are weighed:

    [26] The types of classifications are: (1) classifications which implicate a "suspect" class or a fundamental right; (2) classifications implicating an "important" though not fundamental right or a "sensitive" classification; and (3) classifications which involve none of these. Id. Should the statutory classification in question fall into the first category, the statute is strictly construed in light of a "compelling" governmental purpose; if the classification falls into the second category, a heightened standard of scrutiny is applied to an "important" governmental purpose; and if the statutory scheme falls into the third category, the statute is upheld if there is any rational basis for the classification. Smith v. City of Philadelphia, 512 Pa. at 138, 516 A.2d 311 (citation omitted).

    [27] In this instance, we are satisfied that Act 62 neither implicates a suspect class nor infringes upon a fundamental right. Neither the United States Constitution nor the Pennsylvania Constitution provides an individual right to post-secondary education. The Pennsylvania Constitution provides only that, "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth." Article III, Section 14. Through the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. Section(s) 1-101 et seq., the General Assembly has established a statutory right to participate in public education and has established compulsory attendance requirements that in no case extend to post-secondary education. See 24 P.S. Section(s) 13-1301 and Section(s) 13-1326 - 13-1330. Apart from Act 62, there appears to be no expression of policy regarding an individual's "entitlement" to participate in post-secondary education.

    [28] Likewise, the classification does not implicate an important though not fundamental right.*fn4 Consequently, Act 62 must be upheld if there exists any rational basis for the prescribed classification. It is in this context that we review the Act's creation of a duty, and more significantly a legal mechanism for enforcement of that duty, limited to situations of separated, divorced, or unmarried parents and their children.

    [29] In applying the rational basis test, we have adopted a two-step analysis. See Plowman v. Commonwealth, Dpt. of Transportation, 535 Pa. 314, 635 A.2d 124 (1993). First, we must determine whether the challenged statute seeks to promote any legitimate state interest or public value. If so, we must next determine whether the classification adopted in the legislation is reasonably related to accomplishing that articulated state interest or interests.

    [30] The preamble to Act 62 sets forth the legislature's intention "to codify the decision of the Superior Court in the case of Ulmer v. Sommerville, . . . and the subsequent line of cases interpreting Ulmer prior to the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Blue v. Blue . . . ." (Citations omitted). It also states:

    [31] Further, the General Assembly finds that it has a rational and legitimate governmental interest in requiring some parental financial assistance for a higher education for children of parents who are separated, divorced, unmarried or otherwise subject to an existing support obligation.

    [32] This latter statement begs the question of whether the legislature actually has a legitimate interest in treating children of separated, divorced, or unmarried parents differently than children of married parents with respect to the costs of post-secondary education.

    [33] Appellant argues that with the passage of Act 62 the legislature may have chosen to treat the children of married families and divorced/unmarried families differen

  • 1 decade ago

    Doubt it,sense their was no preexisting order ,but you should consult a local lawyer for a rock solid answer

    emancipated, "custodianship" ,,,at 18 I think you legally an adult and those terms are irrelevant

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