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The Pennsylvania Superior Court late last week rejected an argument by a father that he should not have to pay support to Indiana County’s Department of Children and Youth Services because the agency improperly removed the child from his custody in the first place.
The child, currently in the custody of the Indiana County child welfare agency, is allegedly residing in Blair County, which the father contended raises a jurisdictional problem.
The child’s mother, who is not a participant in the legal challenge, no longer lives in Indiana County, he claimed.
A Superior Court panel said the father filed the appeal after Indiana County Judge Thomas M. Banco ordered him to pay monthly support of $383 plus another $65 a month for arrearages.
In his opinion, the county judge contended that the father raised eight issues, but explained that only one of the issues focused on the support order.
The other seven issues were critical of the court’s finding of dependency relative to the child.
The Superior Court opinion concluded the father’s focus on the child’s removal from his home was “not before the (Indiana County) court in this matter and are not proper issues for appeal.
“Thus, we will not address any claim related to the alleged improper removal (of the child) from (the father’s) home,” the appeals court opinion stated.
The Superior Court whittled the issues it discussed to:
* The argument that CYS would not be seeking child support had it not taken the child in the first place.
* The father’s contention the Indiana County court lacked jurisdiction because the child has been in Blair County for about 18 months.
The appeals court stated that the principal goal of child support “is to serve the best interests of the children through the provision of reasonable expenses.”
The father’s challenge to CYS’s actions in removing the child is a question of dependency, unrelated to the child support question, it stated.
The father has made no claim indicating CYS was not entitled to seek child support and does not challenge the amount of the award, the Superior Court panel ruled.
Also, the father’s claims that the child, the mother, and he no longer live in Indiana County, have not been proven. “The record before us contains no documentation or information supporting (the father’s) assertion that he, (the child) and (the biological mother) live outside Indiana County,” it stated.
The opinion noted the father’s mailing address was in Blairsville, which is in Indiana County.
It noted the father “failed to present any argument” concerning the impropriety of the child support calculation, which was the subject of the appeal.
The father represented himself before the court.
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