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Establishing child support in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2021 | Child Custody |

No matter one’s socioeconomic status, raising a child is costly. When it comes to basic needs, some parents struggle to maintain that while managing other bills. Thus, when parents part ways due to separation or divorce, it is imperative that they address these costs. For many, it means seeking child support so there are reoccurring payments each week or month. This can help one establish consistency and a budget, especially is one parent has the child the vast majority of the time.

Establishing child support

There are different ways to establish child support in the state of Pennsylvania. To begin, parents could make an agreement for this financial obligation and ask the judge to approve it during a divorce or paternity action. Nonetheless, most of these matters are initiated when a parent completes an application for child support and submits it to their local office.

In some cases, there may be a need to locate the noncustodial parent and proving paternity before any support obligations can be established. Once the other parent is located or proven to be the father, child support can be calculated. In the state of Pennsylvania, the formula used to calculate child support is rather complicated, but it is based on certain significant factors. This includes the income of each parent, daycare expenses, the cost of medical insurance, any social security benefits the child may be receiving and the current living arrangement of the child.

Modification and enforcement

Once child support is established, the court will automatically review the order every four years. Despite this, parents do not have to wait this time period before having their order reviewed and modified. When there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a raise, job change or loss of employment, this could warrant a review and modification of the order.

Additionally, if a parent fails to meet this financial obligation, it is possible to take action to enforce the order. This could in turn result in changes to the amount, penalties, interest collected on the arrears and even jail time.

Navigating child support matters can be emotional and complex, especially if a parent has not dealt with them before. Therefore, it is helpful for parents to take the time to understand this process, what options they have and what actions would be best for their matter and the overall best interests of their children.