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After meeting your soul mate, joining together in the union of marriage, and then further cementing that union with the birth of a child, you’ve both decided that your relationship has deteriorated to the point where it simply can’t be saved. You’re both ready to move forward with your lives, and there’s only one obvious solution: divorce.
Even under the most cordial of circumstances, a divorce is a painfully stressful experience. Add a child or two into the mix, and the situation becomes even more stressful still. It’s nearly impossible, for instance, to keep the experience of a divorce from scarring a child emotionally. And then there’s the nearly inevitable issue of alimony, or child support.
If your wife (or husband) has been granted custody of your child during the divorce proceedings, child support payments will almost certainly become a part of the equation. And while your child’s well-being is the highest priority of the court, there’s no shame in admitting that child support is something you probably won’t want to spend more money on than is absolutely necessary.
The truth is that making sense of the finer points of alimony can be a bit tricky. Our Bucks County family law firm can help make sense of your unique situation; family law, after all, is one of our firm’s three main practice areas. Professional legal help certainly will come in handy when determining alimony or child custody situations. Consider, for instance, that the federal government mandates child support guidelines, although those guidelines differ from state to state.
That’s one reason child support calculators have become so popular; you’ll find them on nearly every website on which the ins and outs of alimony are discussed. The general idea involves entering your state-specific details into an online calculator, which then pops out a rough estimate of the monthly payments you can expect to owe.
Securing legal representation, of course, is the only way to be certain that you aren’t making significantly larger alimony payments than you’re required to by law. Our Bucks County-based family law firm, Penglase & Benson, employs child support attorneys with more than 65 years of combined legal experience in local alimony law. The following, however, are a handful of general mandates you can count on to exist within nearly any state’s child support laws.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the monthly net (after taxes) income of both parents is taken into consideration when determining child support payments. Courts take into account the percentage of the couple’s income that each parent contributes. Keep in mind, however, that some states base payments on gross (before taxes) income.
Most states do take into account the amount of money parents need to spend on childcare expenses. The federal dependent care exemption on federal income taxes is taken into account by most states when adjusting the amount parents owe.
When a child support order is given, it’s important that it points out which parent will ultimately be responsible for paying the child (or children’s) health insurance. In most states, the amount a parent pays towards a child’s health insurance is credited to that parent.
What if a parent is already making alimony payments for another child from a different former spouse? In those situations, most states will allow that payment to be deducted from the parents’ income before the amount of the current alimony payment is settled upon.
The bottom line? With the specifics of alimony payments being so complex, and due to the fact that most states have slightly different regulations, taking advantage of a legal child support expert will almost always be your very bet best. It’s also important to understand that due to the many life changes that both you and your children will face as they grow older, child support modifications may become necessary. The lawyers at Penglase & Benson, Inc., are prepared to help you navigate your child support and child custody needs at any stage of your life.
To schedule your initial consultation with our Doylestown child custody attorney, call our firm at 215-348-4416. We are conveniently located next to the Bucks County Courthouse. You can find parking in a nearby garage or on the street. We are easily accessible by train, bus and via Route 611 and Route 313. You can also reach us by completing an online contact form.