Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C.
The Survival Guide to Child Support
Children have the right to support from both their parents. Whether you’re going through a divorce or were never married, child support is a complex calculation that involves a number of factors. It is a court judgment that is enforceable in every state in the nation. In fact, the federal government has many resources that help find parents who neglect their obligations. Pittsburgh family court attorneys can help you get the support your child needs. Learn more about the child support process in Pennsylvania. However, you should contact a lawyer for your specific situation.
Determining the Amount of Child Support
Child support is a monetary payment from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Although the two parties involved can agree on child support, the court actually has the final say. You cannot use child support as a bargaining tool or just give it away. It is the right of the child to receive this income for their needs. The payment is made to the custodial parent, but it is for food, clothing, and shelter for the child.
Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that uses guidelines to determine the presumed amount of support. The Guidelines are useful because they make support more predictable and less subject to the discretion of hearing officers and judges. Pennsylvania bases their guidelines on an Income Shares Model which gives the child the same proportion of parental income that they would receive if the parents were living under the same roof.
Modifications of Child Support
Child support is payable until the child reaches majority, passes away, or is emancipated. Some courts have ordered child support when the child enters college, but this is not always the case. Once the court has entered a child support order, it is the only one who can modify the order. If the situation changes, it is important to request a modification. In Pennsylvania, the main reason a child support order changes is due to a substantial change in income, for example, the loss of a job.
Sometimes, parents will make oral agreements concerning child support, but these are rarely enforceable and can backfire if you are the noncustodial parent. It is always best to discuss any changes in child support with your child custody attorneys in Pittsburgh to ensure that you are doing the right thing for you and your child.
Enforcing Child Support
Although it used to be thought that child support and visitation were connected, it is no longer the case in most jurisdictions. If you are the custodial parent who is not receiving child support even with a court order, you will have to proceed through legal channels to get what is owed to you. Don’t withhold visitation, or you may find yourself in contempt of court. Enforcing payment of child support is much easier today because the states work together to ensure children are taken care of. There are both civil and criminal penalties for parents who do not pay for child support. You should discuss all your options with your attorney.
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Navigating through the complexities of child support can quickly become difficult if you’re not fully prepared. Make sure you’re ready to handle all the support and visitations issues you may come across by reaching out to the Family Court Lawyers at Allegheny Attorneys at Law. Make sure your child’s best interests are being looked after throughout your child support battle and contact Allegheny Attorneys today for your free consultation.