The reason child support laws exist in Pennsylvania is to ensure that all of a child’s basic needs are taken care of. The court system, perhaps quite wisely, does not believe that a child’s standard of living should decrease just because its parents no longer live together.
The Purpose of Child Support
In Pennsylvania, the court system firmly believes that both parents have a responsibility to provide their child with the financial support that child needs. The idea is not that one parent should handle the bulk of the child’s financial expenses while the other gets to care for the child, but rather that both parents will contribute equally to the child’s upbringing.
It’s the Pennsylvania family court system, not necessarily you or your ex-spouse, which determines how much child support you will ultimately pay. The figure is determined by State guidelines that consider your annual salary, your spouse’s annual salary, and by how frequently the child stays with you and how often they stay with your spouse. Agreements between the parties for an amount different than the guideline amount can also be entered as an Order.
Once the amount of child support you are expected to pay is determined, the court will set up regular payments. The payments are made based on the frequency of your paycheck. The court will order that your wages be garnished in an effort to make sure the child support is paid.
You’re Legally Obligated to Pay
Once the court has officially declared how much child support you need to pay, the matter is an official court decree and enforceable by law. Failure to pay the determined amount will result in stiff legal action that can include seizure of assets and contempt of court charges.
How a Lawyer Can Help
While it’s true that the Pennsylvania family court system has a set of standards regarding the topic of child support, you shouldn’t assume that a family lawyer with a background in child support won’t be of any assistance.
Your lawyer will work hard to make sure the court is aware of any special circumstances that will impact your ability to pay child support. Your lawyer will also make sure all the paperwork is properly filed, and will lend additional assistance if your circumstance changes and you need to revisit the matter of child support.
How Long Are You Required to Pay?
Child support payments are not something that will go on forever; they’ll end once your child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes second. The payments will also cease if your child passes away before their 18th birthday, or if they become legally emancipated.
Still Have Questions? We Can Help
If you still have questions about Pennsylvania’s child support laws, the attorneys at Penglase & Benson can help with your PA child support attorney needs, regardless of whether you need assistance collecting payments, or making those payments yourself. Whether you simply need assistance with your child support payments, or you require legal advice for your PA custody agreement, we can help.
Drawing on more than 65 years of combined experience, our Pennsylvania attorneys are committed to offering thorough, knowledgeable legal services to a variety of clients.
Our office is conveniently located next to the Bucks County Courthouse. We are the only firm in this convenient location. Please feel free to contact us today.