Child support is often a divisive issue when parents separate. The parents spending more time with the children may feel like child support is far too low given how much they invest. The parent paying support may feel like it is impossible for them to maintain the same standard of living while also providing support for their children.
If you have a demanding job or frequently travel because of your profession, you may recognize that you likely will not have the majority of parenting time for your children. Instead, the kids will likely spend more time with your ex, which means that you could have to pay child support. How much support will the courts order you to pay?
Every child support case is unique
Pennsylvania has very thorough child support guidelines that help to establish a reasonable and fair amount of financial support for minor children. One of the first things the courts need to know is the number of children in your family. The rough breakdown of parenting time is also important. The number of overnight stays your children will have at your home will directly relate to how much support you have to pay.
The courts will also look at the number of children in your family, their current needs and the income of your ex. Finally, exceptional costs and the standard of living during the marriage can also play a role in how much child support the courts order. Higher-earning parents with few overnight visits can expect a significant support obligation, while someone who earns roughly the same amount as their ex and who anticipates a nearly even division of parenting time will have a lower child support obligation.
Your situation will inevitably change
Parents paying support can file a request with the Pennsylvania family courts at any point to request a modification of their child support amount. Typically, the parent requesting the modification needs evidence that there have been substantial changes to the family circumstances, such as a recent loss of employment.
Otherwise, the courts try to review support amounts every four years to ensure they are still appropriate and may conduct an automatic update based on your changing circumstances when review time comes. Determining your income and using a child support calculator can help you estimate how much you may have to pay until your children become adults.
Learning more about how child support functions in Pennsylvania can help parents who need to contribute financially as part of a shared custody arrangement.