Child Support Lawyers in Skippack, Pennsylvania
Skippack Family Law Attorneys Help Clients Achieve Fair Child Support Arrangements
Every parent who continues to have parental rights to their children (even if they do not necessarily have custody) is required by law to financially support their children until each child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school. Although lawyers and courts do rely on mathematical formulas in the process of determining a financial child support obligation, in reality, the full determination process requires consideration of a host of other facts and circumstances specific to the family. In many cases, even when parents establish a child support obligation, life changes to the family can create the need to seek enforcement or modification of the obligation.
It is difficult to ascertain a child’s specific financial needs. As a result, child support matters can easily and frequently create conflicts between parents that require legal assistance to resolve. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C., our experienced Skippack child support attorneys can help you with any issue that may arise in reaching, enforcing, or modifying a child support order.
Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Child Support
The Pennsylvania child support guidelines are typically seen as a baseline for determining the final amount in a child support order. The guidelines are intended to treat similarly-situated parents and families similarly under the law. In determining the final amount that a parent will be obligated to pay under a child support order, courts consider a number of factors such as:
- The parents’ respective income (including from wages, passive income, retirement and pension, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, and insurance and annuities)
- The earning capacity of each parent, which may be much greater than their actual income
- The family’s standard of living prior to divorce or separation, if applicable
- The relative expenses of the child and of the parents
- Whether either parent has other child support obligations
- Any special circumstances or needs of the child
Courts also consider the family’s child custody arrangement in determining a final support amount. For example, if the parents have shared custody, the court may significantly reduce or even eliminate a child support obligation to reflect the fact that each parent is already providing equal financial support to the child.
Skippack Child Support Attorneys Provide Client-Focused Approach in Child Support Cases
Because every child is different and every family’s situation is unique, courts recognize that a child’s needs can be based on any set of special circumstances. In addition, courts also take into account a parent’s ability to financially afford those needs. Because child support is paid for the benefit of the child, not for the benefit of the parent who receives the payment, the court can adjust a child support obligation to cover a child’s expenses beyond the basics of food, shelter, and clothing. Courts can and do require parents subject to child support orders to cover expenses such as:
- School tuition
- Medical expenses and insurance premiums
- Summer camp or other childcare costs
- Reasonable extracurricular or recreational activities
- Any special needs of the child
Finally, it is important to remember that a child support order does not need to remain static. Instead, such orders can be modified to reflect changed circumstances for either the child or the paying parent. For example, if the paying parent experiences a substantial increase in his or her income, the law requires that parent to share his or her good fortune with his or her children. Or if the child’s reasonable expenses increase, such as a substantial increase in tuition, the court can order an increase in support to cover those increased expenses.
Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Your Child Support Matters with Experienced Family Lawyers
Our experienced, knowledgeable Skippack divorce lawyers can help fully prepare you for the child support process. We can help you estimate what an initial child support obligation might be in your case. We can also help you obtain a modification of existing child support orders if circumstances for your family have changed. Finally, we can also pursue enforcement of delinquent child support payments by seeking garnishment of income or other remedies from the court. If you have questions or need help with the child support process, call us at 215-822-7575 or send us a message through our Contact Us page on our website to schedule a free confidential consultation with a knowledgeable, results-focused attorney from our firm.
Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support in Skippack, PA
The child support guidelines set forth by the courts are typically used to establish a baseline number for a child support obligation. The guidelines primarily factor in the parents’ incomes, expenses, and the number of children being supported. The courts modify the guidelines on a regular basis to account for changed economic realities, such as cost-of-living adjustments. However, courts can and do adjust upward or downward from the guidelines number based on any number of factors specific to your case, such as your ability to pay the guidelines amount, your Skippack child custody arrangement, or your child’s specific needs. Thus, you should always bear in mind that the guidelines number may not necessarily be the exact amount that will be ordered by the court. However, it can provide an estimate of what that amount will be.
Both parents have a legal obligation to cover their child’s healthcare costs. As a result, health insurance costs may be made a part of a child support order or can adjust the amount of money paid under the order. Courts do consider a number of factors related to health insurance and health care, such as the parents’ respective abilities to pay for insurance or whether one parent has access to affordable health insurance for the child, such as through an employer-provided health insurance plan. A child support order can also direct how parents will share other healthcare costs, including co-pays and deductibles, potentially taking into account whether one parent is providing insurance.