Pennsylvania Child Support Law
Pennsylvania family court follows statutory guidelines provided by the state legislature when determining how much child support to order. Using present income figures for both parties, our attorneys can estimate a monthly child support order pursuant to the guidelines in an initial consultation.
In May 2010, updated statutory guidelines for child support went into effect. One of the most significant changes under the new statute impacts high income households with a combined net income of over $20,000/month. The old guidelines only contemplated monthly income up to $20,000/month. The new guidelines now contemplate income up to $30,000/month and provide a formula for calculating child support when combined net income exceeds $30,000/month. One of the goals of the new statute was to treat similarly situated people alike, including high income households.
The new guidelines also reflect changes for low income cases by raising the amount of income a person must have to support him/herself before a child support order may be entered. This is called the Self Support Reserve.
Although the goal of the guidelines is to treat similarly situated people alike, there are circumstances that warrant deviations from the guidelines. This may increase or decrease the amount of support paid. For instance, there may be an upward deviation for children with special needs.
At Bennett & Associates, our attorneys take the time to thoroughly review all the factors that could impact your child support order such as: the cost of health insurance for the children, the amount of the monthly mortgage, child care expenses and tax filing status. We work with parents to design a child support agreement that guarantees your children have the financial resources they need while ensuring neither parent makes unrealistic commitments or feels they've been treated unfairly.
Estimating Your Child Support
If you would like us to estimate a monthly child support payment, we will need the following information:
• The most current tax return and pay stubs (the most recent and for the prior six months, if available) for you and the other parent;
• The amount of health insurance paid for the children;
• Child care costs;
• Extracurricular and educational expenses; and
• A comprehensive list of all your financial obligations.
Modification of Support Orders
You should expect that child support will change over time as your income changes, as your child's needs change, or if custody changes. Modification of a current order is essential and should be done immediately upon the change of circumstance, such as a loss of income or change in employment. We can also help you determine if a modification may be appropriate under the child support guidelines effective May of 2010, which may substantially change the amount of support you are legally obligated to receive or pay.
Child Support Enforcement
If you have not received your court-ordered child support, the law is on your side. We can assist you with a variety of legal tools to secure payment from a parent in arrears.
Contact us to learn more about how we help parents find solutions to the question of child support.