Why you need a Lawyer for your Child Support Case (Income)
If you think the child support process is simple, you are mistaken! The child support laws are ever changing. Without a lawyer who is experienced in handling child support cases, you may be at risk of getting an unfair child support order. This blog will discuss the income portion of the child support computation.
When the court is deciding child support, they look at the parents’ income, expenses, and custodial time. That seems simple. However, when you take a closer, look you will see it can be much more complex. What is considered income and how much is considered income available for support is not straight-forward. On January 1, 2022, the Pennsylvania Support Rules saw some major changes, most notably an increase to the basic child support guidelines. Income is now more specifically defined.
The support law, 23 Pa.C.S. §4302, lists many types of income including, but not limited to, compensation for services, wages, salaries, bonuses, fees, compensation in kind, commissions and similar items, income derived from business, gains derived from dealings in property, interest, rents, royalties, dividends, annuities, income from life insurance and endowment contracts, all forms of retirement, pensions, income from discharge of indebtedness, distributive share of partnership gross income, income in respect of a decedent, income from an interest in an estate or trust, military retirement benefits, railroad employment retirement benefits, social security benefits, temporary and permanent disability benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, other entitlements to money or lump sum awards, without regard to source, including lottery winnings, income tax refunds, insurance compensation or settlements, awards or verdicts, and any form of payment due to and collectible by an individual regardless of source.
The above list is what the court will consider as income. An experienced lawyer will know how to get the documents to prove each party’s income.
You may have a case where the other parent is not working, or is working under his or her earning capacity. Pennsylvania courts have found that earning capacity is what is important, not what a parent’s actual earnings are. Earning capacity is defined as the amount that a person could reasonably earn, taking into consideration such factors as the parent’s age, health, training and education.
While you may have thought your child support case was basic, after reading this you might have questions. You might be asking, does the change in child support law increase or decrease my child support order? What is earning capacity, and how is it proved? Get an initial consultation from 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.