Need Help Resolving a PA Child Support Issue?
Unfortunately, 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. On top of that, almost 25 percent of children are born to unmarried parents. How we support those children is a social and legal issue. It's why PA child support agencies and agencies across the country have become aggressive regarding child support issues. The Montgomery County and Bucks County child support lawyers at our family law firm can help you navigate through the challenges.
How Do Courts Establish Child Support in Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania support laws, children have the right to benefit from both parents' incomes. The family court issues child support orders. It bases the amount of support on each state's guidelines and mainly on the non-custodial parent's income and the number of children. The court also considers other factors like the custodial parent's income and the children's needs.
Courts can deviate from guidelines. For example, child support increases if there is a change in circumstances justifying the increase. Those circumstances may include an increase in the payer's income, an increase in cost-of-living, a decrease in the custodial parent's income, or an increase in the child's needs. Conversely, the amount may reduce if justified by the circumstances.
If you're confused by the amount you're paying, talk to a child support lawyer near you for guidance.
A Child Support Lawyer Can Clarify Your Payment
One parent typically pays another for child support in Pennsylvania. That payment considers the party's income and custody schedule. If one parent has primary custody of the children (overnight custody for more than 50% of the year), that parent typically receives support from the other parent. However, the paying parent will receive a reduction in their obligation if they have custody of the children for more than 40% of the overnights per year. If the parties have a 50/50 custody arrangement, the parent who earns more will be responsible.
In Pennsylvania, established rules and guidelines determine the amount owed and consider each party's earning capacity to calculate each parent's share. In addition, the rules require parents to share expenses such as health insurance, child care, and some activity expenses. The rules also require allocating the children's medical expenses between the parties in proportion to their incomes.
There are many nuances to support calculations, particularly if you or the other party have unusual or fluctuating sources of income or a nonconventional custody arrangement. You can also learn more about your earning capacity and its impact on child support payments by clicking here. In addition, a child support lawyer near you can help clarify any questions about support payments.
If one parent is delinquent or fails to pay, courts can take measures like taking support amounts from tax refunds, seizing real estate, or seizing other personal property.
Modifications to Child Support in PA
Courts can modify support based on circumstances, including changes to the custody schedule and the party's incomes. Child support in Pennsylvania terminates once a child turns 18 and graduates from high school. However, where a child has special needs or disabilities that impact their ability to self-support, the court may order it to continue even after meeting those conditions.
In late 2017, Pennsylvania modified its rules regarding child support payments for a minor child residing with a third party (not a parent) such as a grandparent or a county agency. The calculation in that scenario is different from the calculation owed from one parent to another. It includes the parents' incomes, but not the caretaker. Click here if you'd like information about support order modifications during the pandemic. If you need more information about the support order modifications, reach out to one of the child support lawyers at our law offices.
Support Laws Regarding Unmarried Parents
If an unmarried mother seeks child support, she can move to legally establish the father's "paternity" of the child. If the father fails to comply, she can file a lawsuit to establish paternity. The court can order the father to comply. With paternity established, the court will issue an order. Whether you're a mother looking to file a suit to determine paternity or an individual alleged to the parent, talk to our family lawyers to get sound legal counsel.
Talk to a Child Support Lawyer Near You If A Parent Moves to Another State
If the non-custodial parent moves to another state, the custodial parent can take action to ensure payments through the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act. This act provides a means of enforcing a support order in one state in the courts of another state.
Our Family Lawyers Can Help
If you're facing a PA child support issue, talk with a child support lawyer at our family law firm. They'll get you the best possible result with an order, enforcement of an existing order, or establishing or disproving paternity.
We offer a broad selection of legal services to address virtually any issue. From support to custody and divorce to estate planning, we've got you covered. So get in touch with our Doylestown and Norristown law offices today.