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How does the court determine child support in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Child Custody

When parents separate or divorce, the court in Pennsylvania must decide on child support. Child support ensures that both parents contribute to the financial needs of their child.

The court uses specific guidelines to determine the amount of child support.

Considering both parents’ incomes

According to the CDC, the divorce rate in Pennsylvania is 2.4 per 1,000 couples. The court considers the income of both parents, including salaries, wages, bonuses and any other sources of income. The court adds these incomes together to calculate the combined monthly net income.

Using Pennsylvania child support guidelines

The court uses the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines provide a chart that indicates the amount of child support based on the combined income and the number of children. The chart helps the court determine a basic child support obligation. This amount reflects what both parents would typically spend on their child if they were living together.

Allocating the support amount

After determining the basic child support obligation, the court allocates the amount between the parents. The court does this by calculating each parent’s share of the combined income. For example, if one parent earns 60% of the combined income, that parent will be responsible for 60% of the child support obligation.

Considering additional expenses

The court also considers additional expenses, such as health insurance premiums, medical costs and childcare expenses. The court divides these costs between the parents based on their income shares. If the child has special needs or other extraordinary expenses, the court may adjust the child support amount accordingly.

Adjustments for the child’s best interests

In some cases, the court can adjust the child support amount if it finds that the guidelines do not reflect the child’s best interests. The court considers factors such as the child’s standard of living, each parent’s financial situation and the child’s needs.

Issuing and modifying the support order

Finally, the court issues a child support order. This order specifies the amount of child support, payment frequency and how parents should handle additional expenses. The court can modify the child support order if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or the child’s needs.

When a couple with children divorces, they should make their kids’ well-being a priority.