When the family courts in Pennsylvania order child support, they do so based on their understanding of a family’s circumstances. The income of each parent, the needs of the children and the division of parenting time affect how much child support one parent has to pay the other.
Although the courts do occasionally revisit child support, parents may find that the ordered amount is too high or too low for their family’s needs. If any of the three situations below apply to your family, that could be a sign that you need to seek a modification.
The needs of the children have increased
Children don’t usually become cheaper when they get older. If anything, the opposite is true. Teenage extracurricular activities, car insurance and phone plans can all cost hundreds of dollars a month.
It’s also possible for children to suffer an injury or develop a medical condition that increases their medical costs or child care expenses. When your family’s financial needs go up significantly, you may need more support to cover those costs.
The custody arrangements have changed
The division of parenting time has a direct influence on how much support either parent pays. Sometimes, parents establish a new routine that is different from the one created by the courts.
The parent paying support may have less time with the children or more. Their support obligations may change with their parenting time contributions. If those changes become permanent, asking for a support modification could make sense.
The income of the paying parent changes
When the parent paying support suddenly loses their job or has to take a pay cut, their ability to keep making the ordered payments suffers. On the other hand, when a parent who doesn’t have full-time parenting obligations and can therefore dedicate more time to their career receives a promotion or a big raise, their children could benefit from their good fortune.
Child support modifications can help ensure that each parent is contributing appropriately to the financial support of the children while also preventing their financial obligations from becoming burdensome.