There are several legal matters that must be handled when a couple chooses to divorce. After the child custody arrangements are decided, the court must then deal with the matter of child support. Child support set by the court requires a non-custodial parent to make payments to the custodial parent to continue support for their child even after the divorce. In the state of Pennsylvania, both parents must financially aid their child until the child reaches the age of emancipation.
How Are Support Payments Decided?
A court reaches a conclusion on the amount for child support payments with the intention of providing the child with the same standard of living that they were used to before the divorce. These payments are to be used for all matters relating to the child. This can include housing, food, entertainment, schooling, extracurricular activities, and more. The court comes to the decision of child support based on several factors. This may include:
- The income of the non-custodial parent
- The income of the custodial parent
- The age of the children
- Any financial requirements of the children
Enforcing Child Support
In some cases, a non-custodial parent may fall behind on support payments or even ignore the obligation entirely. In the event of this, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Child Support Enforcement may come in to correct the issue. Sometimes, this may result in different court orders. An income withholding order may be issued to direct an employer to take child support out of the parent’s paycheck. This can be to cover any current support and unpaid past support. If this is not successful, the “Insurance Intercept Program” is available. This makes insurance settlement money accessible to pay for child support.
If a parent does not pay child support payments, they can face certain penalties. This may include:
- A charge of civil contempt
- Seizing bank accounts and tax refunds
- Suspension of a drivers license
- Passports being denied
Sometimes, a parent’s financial circumstances can change over time while they are paying child support. When this happens, payments are able to be modified to better suit the parent’s new situation. Some cases may require an increase in payments while others may require a reduction. Increased payment amounts may be requested if the parent experiences a raise or increase in income. It may also be necessary if a child requires money for medical necessities. A reduction in payments may be requested in the event that a parent loses their job. A reduction in child support payments may be approved only if the parent can prove a significant change in their financial status.
Contact our Firm
If you or a family member is seeking representation for a child support case, contact the Law Offices of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C. today.