Pennsylvania Child Support Law
Child support is support for the benefit of a child or children. Child support is the right of the child to be supported, rather than the right of either parent to receive support. This means that child support can’t be waived.
In most cases, child support obligations in Pennsylvania are calculated using a formula, the Basic Child Support Schedule in the Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are promulgated by the state and adjusted every two years to reflect cost of living increases and other financial circumstances. While these adjustments are often relatively small, they may be significant in times of inflation or recession. The Guidelines are found in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, 1910-16-1 et seq. It is important to note that a court may deviate from the Guidelines in certain situations, which are discussed below.
The Guidelines do not apply in certain situations, i.e., high monthly net income situations (exceeding $30,000/month) and child support obligations for more than 6 children.
Whether you are seeking child support for the first time or seeking to modify an existing child support order, our Montgomery County, PA family law firm will guide you through the process with skill, energy, and compassion. Our law firm also accepts child support matters in Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia counties. Learn more about firm founder Inna Materese.
Related Client Review: “Inna is an absolute superhero. My former lawyer had made several huge mistakes in my divorce and custody case. I fired him and I retained Inna 2 weeks before the final 2 days of my custody hearing. I was extremely anxious and she made me feel comfortable and confident. She handled my case with diligence and professionalism which led to a great outcome. With Inna as my lawyer, I can rest easy and completely trust that she is going to handle things.” Kelly K. (April 2020)
How to Determine Pennsylvania Child Support Obligations
Child support obligations in Pennsylvania are based on the parties’ combined monthly net income, the number of persons being supported, the child custody agreement and other expenses, such as child care, health insurance, school tuition, etc.
Net income includes after-tax income from any source, including but not limited to, wages, salaries, bonuses, fees, commissions, interest, rents, royalties, dividends, pensions, disability benefits, retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, and unemployment compensation. In some instances, alimony may be included in the calculation, at the court’s discretion.
After the parties’ total net income is determined, each party’s individual contribution is calculated. This is a percentage based on the party’s contribution to the total monthly net income.
For example, a divorced couple in Montgomery County has 2 children. Under the Guidelines, the total monthly child support obligation for 2 children is $3,142 (as of Jan. 2023). Parent A’s monthly net income is $10,000, and Parent B’s monthly net income is $5,000. Based on each parent’s contribution to the total monthly net income, Parent A’s support obligation is 66%, and Parent B’s support obligation is 33%. However, it is important to note that the final child support order will depend on the custody agreement and any other financial considerations.
Deviating from the Guidelines
In considering whether to deviate from the Guidelines, a court will consider factors, such as:
- unusual needs and unusual fixed obligations,
- a party’s other support obligations,
- other household income,
- the child’s age,
- the parties’ relative assets and liabilities,
- medical expenses not covered by insurance,
- the parties’ and the child’s standard of living, and
- other relevant and appropriate factors, including the child’s best interest.
Modifying a Child Support Order
A parent may seek to modify an existing child support order if there is a substantial and material change in circumstances, such as changes in income, child care or medical expenses, child custody, etc.
Petitions to modify child support orders must be filed with the court that entered the underlying support order. If the case has been transferred to another county, such petitions are filed in that county.
Montgomery County, PA Custody Law Firm – We Focus Exclusively on Family & Divorce Law
At Materese Family Law, we are meticulous about your financial details, while never losing sight of the big picture. Whether your support matter is straightforward or requires a complex forensic accounting or business valuation, our focus is on a cost-effective and deliberate approach to your support needs.
For over a decade, firm founder Inna Materese has focused exclusively on family and divorce law in Pennsylvania. She is the Treasurer of the Montgomery County Bar Association Family Law Section and has presented a variety of Continuing Legal Education courses, including:
— Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements (2022)
— “Dysfunctional” Family Law (2021)
— Third Parties in Custody Cases (2020)
— The Math of Divorce (2016)
— Tax Implications in Divorce (2015)
Our Montgomery County Family Law Firm accepts clients across the county, including: Ambler, Blue Bell, Collegeville, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, King of Prussia, Lansdale, Oreland, Plymouth Meeting, Willow Grove, as well as the Main Line: Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Merion, Narberth.
Pennsylvania Family & Divorce Law
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