Understanding Child Support in Pennsylvania

By Jones & Associates Law P.C.

Children are entitled to financial support from their parents and in Pennsylvania, there are child support guidelines to determine how much a parent must contribute. Child support is intended to pay for the child’s needs, such as housing, food, clothing and medical care.

Child Support Calculation

The exact amount a parent will pay for child support will vary based on the situation, but there are general rules that are helpful to understand.

First, both parents’ incomes are considered, which includes their salaries, bonuses and other sources of income. The state has a guideline for a basic support obligation, which is the calculated amount the parents would have spent on the child if they were living together.

The guidelines will also consider whether the parents have additional expenses, like other child support payments and the cost of health insurance. Custody and visitation schedules may also affect which parent pays additional support. Usually, this means that the parent who has primary custody of the child will receive more child support.

Support Length

A parent’s obligation to pay child support usually is in place until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later.

However, if the child is emancipated, the parent may no longer be required to pay support. This may happen through marriage, military service or when the child is self-supporting.

In some situations, the parent may be ordered by the court to contribute to the child’s college expenses as well.

If parents need help understanding the child support process, there is assistance available.