Child Support Lawyers in Souderton, PA
Souderton Child Support Attorneys Are Dedicated to Helping Clients Achieve Beneficial Child Support Arrangements
All parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children until emancipation, which usually happens when the child turns 18 and graduates from high school. This financial obligation exists regardless of whether or not the parents were ever married to one another. When parents are separated from one another, in many cases the court may order one parent to pay child support to the other parent for the benefit of their children. The courts rely on a set of guidelines to calculate an amount of child support a parent may be ordered to pay. While these guidelines have a primary component that is based on formulas involving the parties’ financial information, the court may also consider other subjective, fact-intensive circumstances in fashioning a child support order.
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A child’s financial needs and parents’ economic situations change over time. This often presents complications when parents need to enforce or seek a modification of existing child support orders. Without legal assistance, child support disputes can spiral into intractable battles. The experienced Souderton child support lawyers of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford can help you address any issues that arise in negotiating, enforcing, or modifying a child support arrangement.
Pennsylvania Law Determines Child Support Amounts in Child Support Cases
In Pennsylvania, the courts now treat the child support guidelines as a baseline in determining what kind of child support to order. The courts also consider a number of statutory factors in arriving at a final amount for a child support order, including:
- The parents’ respective income and assets
- The parents’ respective earning capacities
- The family’s standard of living prior to the parents’ separation, if applicable
- Whether each parent has other child support obligations
- Any other special circumstances or needs of the child
Another important factor that courts take into consideration is the parents’ custody arrangement. In arrangements where both parents have roughly equal parenting time, the court may dispense with regular child support payments where the parties incomes are similar since each parent would be providing for roughly equal amounts of the child’s regular expenses.
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Finally, it should be noted that what the court calculates to be a parent’s income may be different from what the parent reports as their income. Courts may include deductions from income, such as retirement contributions or other income exempt from taxation. The court will seek to identify your total earning capacity, rather than just your taxable income.
The Child Support Lawyers in Souderton Focus on Clients in Their Child Support Cases
The factors that are most relevant to a child support determination can vary in each case. A particular child’s financial needs can be based on any number of unique circumstances — those needs can also be impacted by the parents’ ability to financially afford those needs. It is important to remember that child support is paid for the benefit of the child, not for the benefit of the parent receiving the payment. As a result, courts will often factor in other expenses beyond the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, such as:
- Educational expenses, like tuition, uniforms, and textbooks
- Health/dental/vision insurance costs and healthcare expenses
- Childcare expenses (e.g., daycare, after-school programs, babysitters)
- Reasonable extracurricular and recreational activity expenses
- Any expenses incurred to address any special needs of the child
As a child’s or parents’ circumstances can change, so can child support arrangements. Usually, when one parent experiences a significant change in income or earning capacity, or, unfortunately, loses their job, they or their child’s other parent can petition the court to change the child support order to reflect the parent’s new financial circumstances. Our dedicated child support attorneys in Souderton can help you address any complications that may arise with your child support arrangements, including:
- Calculating a parent’s income and earning capacity, which can be especially difficult when a parent is self-employed
- Enforcing existing child support orders when a parent stops paying
- Modifying an existing child support order to address changed circumstances
- Uncovering income and assets that were hidden by your child’s other parent to reduce his or her child support obligation
- Resolving paternity
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our Souderton Child Support Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
If you need help determining an initial child support obligation or enforcing or modifying an existing order, contact the child support lawyers of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford today to schedule a free confidential consultation with one of our attorneys where we can address your questions about child support and explain your rights and options. You can call us or submit a message through our “Contact Us” page and we will promptly respond to your request.
Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support
The child support guidelines merely provide a baseline for determining how much a responsible parent will pay in child support. The guideline uses figures such as your income or total earning capacity and the number of children subject to the order. The guidelines are regularly revised to address intervening changes to various factors, such as cost-of-living adjustments. Courts will then often adjust the child support guideline to account for other factors, including the responsible parent’s ability to pay, the parents’ custody arrangement, and any special needs of the child. In the end, the child support guidelines provide an estimate of what your obligations will be.
As with all of a child’s financial needs, both parents are responsible for covering health insurance and health care costs. Practically speaking, only one parent will provide health insurance for a child. Which parent is designated to provide insurance depends on a number of factors, including the parent’s ability to pay or whether the parent can secure affordable coverage, such as through an employer. A child support order can also outline how parents share other health care costs, like co-pays and deductibles. In the end, depending on your circumstances, the court may make you responsible for paying a portion or even all of your child’s health insurance costs.