If you are getting a divorce in Pennsylvania and you have minor children with your spouse, you will need to learn the state's laws regarding child support. In order to help you better understand how the laws relate to you, we are going to explain what you need to know about child support below.
If you have any questions that we do not answer here, please feel free to contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced member of our legal team.
Both Parents Must Support Their Children
Under Pennsylvania law, both parents must financially support their children. Usually, the parent who receives the child support is the one who the children live with most of the time. Both parents must support their children, even if they were never married.
Support is Typically Paid Until the Child Turns 18
In Pennsylvania, parents must financially support their children until they turn 18 years-of-age, or until they graduate high school, whichever comes later. Usually, a parent is not legally required to pay for a child's college education unless they agreed to it in their divorce.
Support is Based on Both Parents' Income
The amount of child support due depends on both of the parents' income and how many children they have together. Usually, the court applies statewide guidelines unless the paying parent can show that the amount is too high due to their circumstances.
Other Children Will Be Considered
Sometimes a parent who is liable for child support has other children in their household, for example, from a previous or second marriage. In that case, the court turns to the child support guidelines to determine how much support should go towards the children in both households. If the support amount for all of the children combined is more than half of the paying parent's net income, it's possible that the court will reduce the amount of support. All of the children are treated fairly, and one family does not receive preferential treatment.
Healthcare Will Be Addressed
Each child support case must address health insurance – it's the law. If the coverage is reasonable, the non-custodial parent is required to pay for this coverage. If affordable healthcare is not available, the custodial parent is responsible for health insurance. If neither parent has access to affordable coverage, the custodial parent is instructed to apply for health coverage through the government.
Some more important facts about child support:
- A parent can be ordered to help pay for childcare expenses
- If a man denies that he's the child's father, the court can order a DNA test
- Typically, child support is taken directly from a parent's wages
- There are serious consequences to not paying child support
- Child support can be changed if there has been a significant change in circumstances
Remember, the laws regarding child support and family law can change. For the most current information that applies to your case, contact our office directly!