Raising a child is rewarding; however, it is a part of a parent’s life that generates many costs. While many parents in Pennsylvania are able to split the costs fairly because they are raising the children together as a unit, this can evolve into a challenging task for those parents that are unwed, separated or divorced. Because both parents are obligated to financially support a child, child support is ordered when parents are no longer together.
Calculating child support in Pennsylvania
Because no two families are the same and encompass the needs, issues and financial capabilities, child support is calculated based on the specifics of the matter. To begin, child support is based on the reasonable financial needs of the child. It is further based on the ability of a parent to pay these needs. While an amount may be calculated for a child, it does not mean that a parent will be able to pay that amount; thus, child support needs to be altered based on this and other factors
Factors that impact child support
In the state of Pennsylvania, the courts will use a somewhat complicated formula to establish the amount of child support that should be paid. The basis of this formula considers significant factors such as the incomes of both parents, expenses related to childcare, medical insurance costs, Social Security benefits the child might be receiving and the living arrangements of the child.
It should be noted that even if a parent is not working, they could be ordered to pay child support. This is common when this is the non-custodial parent. Additionally, it is possible for both parents to be ordered to pay child support for a child that is not in their care. Typically, child support will be used to cover necessities, health insurance and education expenses. It could also be used to cover childcare expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, visitation travel costs and extracurricular activities.
Revisiting an order
Once child support is established, a judge will automatically review the amount ordered every four years. However, this is not inflexible. It is possible to have an order reviewed or modified because of a substantial change in circumstances. Additionally, if child support is delinquent, an order could be revisited for enforcement.
Whether you seek to establish, enforce or modify a child support order, it is important to understand the process and your rights. This not only considered you rights as a parent but also helps to keep the focus on the best interests of the child, ensuring they are met.