Understanding Child Support in Pennsylvania


Understanding Child Support in Pennsylvania

As a parent, you want to provide the best for your children. That includes making sure that your children’s financial needs are met. In Pennsylvania, courts establish child support obligations based on various factors that are outlined in the PA child support guidelines.  This blog will look more closely at how child support works in Pennsylvania, and what parents should know about it.

Who Pays Child Support?

In Pennsylvania, generally speaking, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support, however, both parents may be required to contribute to the child’s financial needs, depending on their individual circumstances. The courts will take into account a variety of factors when determining who will pay child support, and how much they should pay.

How Much Will I Pay?

The amount of child support to be paid depends on several factors, such as each parent’s income level, or earning capacity, the cost of health insurance for the children, and such additional expenses as daycare, unreimbursed medical expenses, and extracurricular activities. The court uses a formula to determine the amount of support to be paid for basic living expenses, like food, clothing, and shelter. Beyond that, the court is likely to allocate the cost of educational and medical needs for the children, and additional expenses can also be added, if necessary or appropriate.

Enforcing Child Support Payments

Child support payments are commonly administered by way of wage attachment, when it is possible for the court to direct the employer of the paying party to withhold wages and submit the withheld funds to the state for distribution to the other party. When wage attachment is impossible or ineffective, and the party ordered to pay child support fails to make payment on time and in full, there are several enforcement methods available in Pennsylvania. These enforcement methods include tax refund interception (withholding tax refunds until payments have been made), and suspension of driver’s license or professional licenses (for example law or medical licenses). In extreme cases, where other enforcement methods have failed, judges may send a delinquent party to jail, until payment arrangements have been made or the arrears are resolved.

In sum, navigating child support laws is important, consequential, and can be difficult, especially for those unfamiliar with the laws and it nuances. Understanding your rights is essential, to be sure your children receive the financial support they need and deserve. When it comes to determining who pays what, and how much should be paid for child support in Pennsylvania, the courts use specific formulas, based on factors like income levels, and additional expenses, to come up with an appropriate amount for each case. If payments are not being made fully and timely, there are various enforcement methods available, from wage garnishment, to suspension of driver’s license/professional licenses, and even jail time in more extreme cases. It is important that both parents understand the process, so that everyone can do their part, and so all parties, and the children, get what they are entitled to, as a just and equitable result.

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About the author

About Lawrence Welsh

A funny thing happened to Larry (Lawrence C. Welsh) on the way to his professional career in the practice of law. After graduating from college and before entering law school, he took an extended tour through the hospitality industry, working his way through both the service and business sides of hotels, restaurants and resorts in six states and the District of Columbia. Taking the business acumen and the ever-watchful attention to detail so well-honed during that experience into his lifelong passion to practice law has led Larry to his position as Chief Legal Counsel and head of the firm’s Forensic Support Team. Before joining the firm, Larry worked in the public defender’s office, through which he added an array of advocacy skills and trial experience to his resume. Since joining the firm in 2003, Larry has handled a full range of family law issues, which he continues to do, while lending experience and direction to others in the firm, particularly where and when the resources of the Forensic Support Team are most appropriate. Larry is also licensed in New Jersey, and he leads the firm’s New Jersey team operations. Larry is a multi-year “Top Lawyer” honoree in Main Line Today magazine, and he has been named as an “Awesome/Top Attorney” for family law and divorce in Suburban Life Magazine. Larry is an active member of the bar associations and family law sections of Delaware County, Chester County, and the state of Pennsylvania.