Everything You Need to Know About Child Support in PA
The law provides that parents are responsible for the financial support of their children. In order to ensure that parents meet this financial responsibility for their children, Pennsylvania has established child support guidelines. This article will answer some common questions about child support in the state of Pennsylvania.
Who is responsible for paying child support, and how is it calculated?
The obligor, meaning the one who will be obligated to pay child support, is usually the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the minor child(ren). In cases where the parents have equal custodial time, or joint physical custody, the paying parent will be the higher earning parent. As for calculating the amount of child support, Pennsylvania relies on a formula, which takes into account the combined monthly net income of both parents. In certain cases, adjustments to the guideline-calculated support amount will be made, based on consideration of the operative custodial schedule. To be sure the best possible support obligation is established in your case, it is important to work with an attorney who has an understanding of the support guidelines.
What about educational expenses, the cost of extracurricular activities, and medical expenses?
Certain educational expenses, extracurricular activities, and medical expenses are considered “extra expenses,” for the purposes of establishing the total support obligation. These expenses will be compensable between the parties, and they may be added to the basic, formulaic child support obligation. Expenses such as daycare, gymnastics or other extra-curricular activities, summer camp, and some reoccurring medical obligations may be added to the basic obligation, and thus a proportional share of these expenses may become part of the total, court-ordered support obligation. Generally, the court will order that these “extra expenses” are paid proportionally, according to each parent’s relative percentage of the parents’ total combined monthly net income. For instance, if the cost of daycare were $1,000/month, and dad’s income constituted 65% of the total combined monthly net income of the parties (and consequently, mom’s income were 35% of the total combined monthly net income), dad would be responsible for $650/month of the day care expense, and mom would be responsible to pay $350 of that monthly expense. When addressing “extra expenses” in support court, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney.
What if I can’t afford the payments?
If you cannot afford your support obligation, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney, to determine if the obligation is reasonable an appropriate, in light of your income and the custodial schedule. If the support obligation is not reasonable and appropriate, your attorney can file a petition with the court, seeking to modify the support obligation.
Child support is an important part of being a parent in Pennsylvania. It ensures that all children receive the financial support they need from their parents, even after separation or divorce. It is important to understand the laws and rules governing this matter, so that you can be sure your children are getting what they are entitled to, and so there is no confusion or misunderstanding about who is responsible for what expenses. If you have any questions about how this works in Pennsylvania, or need help understanding your support obligation, or the other party’s support obligation, please contact an experienced family law attorney at LaMonaca Law today!