Harleysville Child Support Lawyers
Harleysville Family Law Attorneys Strive to Help Clients Obtain Favorable Child Support Orders
Every parent who wishes to maintain his or her parental rights is required by law to financially support his or her children until each child reaches 18 years old and graduates from high school. This requirement applies regardless of the present or past marital status of the parents. When parents are separated from one another, the court may impose child support obligations for one parent to pay to the other for the benefit of their children. Although the amount of a child support obligation begins with a formulaic calculation, it also involves the court looking at fact-intensive circumstances that can vary from family to family.
Child support orders can also raise complications when one parent needs to enforce or modify the order. Moreover, a child’s needs will change over time, which can cause conflicts between parents that require legal assistance and, in some cases, judicial intervention. The experienced Harleysville child support attorneys of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. help our clients resolve the issues that may arise in formulating, enforcing, and modifying child support arrangements.
Statutory Rules for Calculating Child Support Levels in Harleysville
Pennsylvania law now uses the court-formulated child support guidelines as a baseline for determining the amount of child support that a parent will pay. The court then looks at other facts to arrive at a final determination of child support, with the goal of treating similarly-situated parents similarly under the law. Some of the factors that courts look at in determining child support obligations include:
- Each parent’s income
- Each parent’s earning capacity, which in many cases is higher than the parent’s actual income
- The family’s standard of living prior to separation, if applicable
- The reasonable expenses of each parent
- Any other support obligations that each parent is subject to
- Any special needs or circumstances of the child
In addition, the court will also factor in the custody arrangement of the parents. For example, a court may reduce or eliminate a child support obligation if the parents have a roughly equal shared custody arrangement, with both parents generally splitting expenses equally for the child or children.
Harleysville Child Support Attorneys Are Results-Focused in Child Support Matters
The child support factors set forth under Pennsylvania law are considered in every Harleysville child support case. These factors reflect that the needs of every child are different and can be based on a number of special circumstances. In addition, a child support obligation must reflect the parent’s ability to afford the amount of the obligation.
Child support is financial support that is paid by one parent for the benefit of his or her child, not for the benefit of the parent who receives the child support payments. Courts also frequently make child support obligation determinations to account for a child’s needs beyond the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, such as:
- School tuition
- Medical expenses and insurance costs
- Childcare costs
- Summer and holiday camps
- The costs of the child’s reasonable extracurricular and recreational activities
- The special needs of the child
Parents must remain mindful that child support arrangements rarely remain static over time. Instead, there are a number of circumstances that may require the court to modify an existing child support arrangement, including:
- A substantial increase or decrease in either parent’s income or loss of employment
- A change in family circumstances such as having another family
- A substantial increase or decrease in the child’s expenses
When there has been a substantial change in the circumstances that supported the existing child support arrangement, courts will modify the arrangement to reflect a parent’s or child’s new circumstances.
Contact Our Harleysville Child Support Lawyers to Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Your Case
The experienced child support attorneys of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. can help you estimate child support obligations in your case. Or we can help you modify an existing order if your or your child’s circumstances have appreciably changed. If necessary, we can pursue an enforcement action against the other parent for outstanding, past-due child support obligations. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your rights and options for your child support case. You can call us at 215-822-7575 or fill out our “Contact Us” page on our website, and we will promptly respond to you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support Obligations in Harleysville, PA
FAQ: How do the state child support guidelines affect my child support obligation?
The child support guidelines promulgated by the Pennsylvania state courts merely provide a baseline estimate for a child support obligation. The guidelines typically focus on both parent’s incomes along with the number of children you are supporting and your child’s estimated expenses. The state regularly amends the guidelines to account for changing factors such as cost-of-living adjustments. However, courts will take the number provided by the guidelines and may adjust up or down according to other factors, including the paying parent’s ability to afford the obligation, the custody arrangement between the parents, and a child’s unique needs. Thus, while the guidelines do not necessarily represent the exact amount of child support you can expect in your case, it gives a good estimate of the obligation. Our attorneys can walk you through how other factors in your case may affect the guideline number.
FAQ: Can the court include the cost of health insurance in my support obligation? Doesn’t the custodial parent have to pay for a child’s health insurance?
Both parents have an equal obligation to provide health care for their children. However, health insurance costs can be built into a child support order or can affect the exact amount of a child support obligation. Courts will look at various factors relating to healthcare costs and health insurance, including the relative abilities of the parents to pay for care and insurance or whether one parent has access to affordable coverage for a child. Even if one parent is ordered to provide health insurance for the child, both parents may still be required to split other costs, such as co-pays and deductibles.