Child support is a court-ordered payment made to support the costs of raising a child. Child support is generally paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. The amount of child support is based on a number of factors, including income of both parents. Failure to pay child support could subject an individual to garnished wages and a warrant for their arrest. Having an experienced family lawyer by your side can help advise you of your child support rights, options, and make sure you are not taken advantage of.
Calculating Child Support in Pennsylvania
Child support guidelines in Pennsylvania are based on the Income Shares Model. This idea is that a child should receive an equal proportion of parental income he or she would have received if the parents lived together. In determining child support, the courts in Pennsylvania look at a number of factors, including:
- Individual net income from all sources;
- Combined monthly net income of both parents;
- Number of children;
- Other support obligations;
- Health insurance costs; and
- Daycare costs.
In general, parents are liable to support their children up until the age of 18. However, support may continue beyond the age of 18 for a student still in high school. If a child is emancipated before the age of 18, one of the parents may file a petition to request that child support be stopped.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
Child support orders are court orders. Failure to pay child support payments on time can lead to serious consequences. Child support orders require a wage attachment order, where employers are directed to take a certain amount of money out of the parent's paycheck. If payments are not made, the case is eligible for enforcement action.
The parent receives a notice to attend a contempt conference or hearing, where they are notified of their duty to pay and the repercussions of failure to pay. A parent may be forced to find a job, may a payment at that time, or even be put in jail for willful contempt. In addition, federal income tax refunds can be intercepted, property is subject to a lien, the individual is reported to the credit bureau, and the individual may also have their license suspended.
Child Support Changes
If circumstances have changed, a parent's financial situation has changed, or there is another basis for requesting a modification to the child support order, either parent may file a request for modification. The petitioner should demonstrate a substantial and material change in circumstances, which may include:
- Existence of additional income or assets;
- Increase in child care or healthcare costs; or
- Change in custody.
If you disagree with the child support order approved by the court, you can file an appeal.
Pennsylvania Child Support Lawyer
Child support can be an ongoing issue for divorced or separated couples in Pennsylvania. An experienced lawyer on your side will provide you child support options so you can best provide for your children. Family law attorney David J. Cohen is devoted to representing the people of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today for a consultation.