When parents get divorced, one of the most important issues is often child support. Child support is a monthly payment that is made by the noncustodial parent to help the other cover the costs of raising a child.
Although there are exceptions, payments will usually continue until the child turns 18 years old or becomes emancipated.
Who Receives Child Support?
Typically, the custodial parent receives child support payments, because the child lives with them most of the time. Which parent has primary custody of the children is determined by how many overnights each parent has with the child based on the custodial schedule.
The parent who has the child overnight for more than 50 percent of the time has primary custody and is entitled to child support. If the other parent has more than 40 percent overnight visits with the child, he or she may be eligible for a reduction in child support payments.
If the child spends an equal number of overnights with both parents, child support is payable to the parent with the lower income.
The amount that the noncustodial parent must pay depends on the Pennsylvania child support guidelines. The court takes these guidelines, as well as other factors, into account and allows for some flexibility to deviate from the guidelines under certain circumstances.
Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines
The Pennsylvania child support guidelines set forth parameters by which to determine the amount of child support that will be paid. The guidelines are based on the parents’ combined monthly net income, and the number of children.
Generally, the more income and the more children, the higher the child support payments. However, there are certain other factors the court will consider when determining the amount to be paid, including:
- The child’s age
- The parents’ relative assets and liabilities
- Other child support obligations
- Child’s medical expenses that are not covered by insurance
- The standard of living
- The best interests of the child
- Any unusual needs and/or obligations
Child Support Modification
Pennsylvania courts are generally willing to modify the amount of the child support payments if there is a material and substantial change in circumstances. An order for child support may be increased or decreased if either party’s financial circumstances change. Such changes may occur when a parent loses their job; gets a new, higher-paying job; gets married; or moves away.
It is always advisable to request a modification, and not to simply stop making payments. Courts may hold noncompliant parties in contempt of court, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Courts may also take several actions against the non-custodial parent, including garnishing their wages, seizing their bank accounts, revoking their driver’s license, and publishing their name in the newspaper.
Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Provide Skilled Legal Advice on All Family Law Matters, Including Child Support
If you have questions about child support or any family law matter, ask an experienced Philadelphia divorce lawyer at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Our firm has been committed to providing the highest quality legal representation for over 80 years. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962.
We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina From our offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, and Pinehurst.