Child Support Process
Are you tired of bearing the entire financial burden of your child? Could you use some child support to help? Do you need child support for your child? Are you entitled to child support? Are you paying child support and need it adjusted? Have you just been served with child support papers and need to know your rights and requirements?
The process begins with the custodial parent, either online or in person, filing for child support. The court will then assign a date for the two parents to state their case. Each county in Pennsylvania is different but normally this is not a court hearing in front of a Judge, it’s a hearing conducted by a hearing officer. The most important thing about this hearing is that you, most likely, will not get an opportunity to disprove what the other party is stating. The hearing officer will take the information provided and come up with a child support order. The parties will get a chance to agree to the amount the hearing officer provides or a different number. If the parties agree then the case is over. If the parties don’t agree, then a hearing will be scheduled with a master to determine what the appropriate child support order should be. If after that hearing, either party is not satisfied with the master’s order, the decision can be appealed by either party within 20 days of the order being entered. If either party appeal, then a hearing will be scheduled with a judge so the parties can present their cases and present evidence.
What does the court consider when deciding a child support amount?
In general, in Pennsylvania if you do not live with the child’s other parent and you have primary custody, then you are entitled to child support. You can also get child support if you have shared custody and your income is lower than child’s other parent. How much you are entitled to is a lot more complicated. There is a formula used and several variables to decide exactly what amount is to be paid by the non-custodial parent. Some of the factors the court considers are:
- How much time the child spends with the non-custodial parent. (typically, overnight visits are counted)
- Who pays for health insurance and how much they are paying.
- Cost of schooling.
- Cost of extracurricular activities.
- How much each parent earns or, in some cases, their earning potential.
While you may have thought your child support case was basic, after reading this you might have questions. You might be asking, what is earning potential and how is it proven? You may be asking if you should have appealed your court order rather than agreeing. Or you are thinking why do I have to pay all the cost of the activities and why wasn’t it included in my child support order? If you have these questions, you want to seek help. Have an initial consultation with an experienced family lawyer. This consultation can help you understand if you have a fair child support order or if you need to go back to court to get it adjusted. LaMonaca Law is a family law firm that will educate you, protect your rights and develop a successful plan to achieve your desired goals. Call LaMonaca Law at 610-892-3877 to schedule an initial consultation.