When a couple divorces, there are many legal matters to have to be addressed before a marriage is officially dissolved. After child custody is determined, the court must then decide upon the matter of child support. Regardless of the custody arrangement, both parents have to support the child. Child support is payments set by the court that a non-custodial parent must make to the custodial parent in order to continue caring for their child after the divorce. In Pennsylvania, parents are required to financially assist their child until they reach the age of emancipation.
How Are Child Support Payments Decided?
When a court determines the amount for child support payments, they do so with the intent to maintain the standard of living that the child was used to before the divorce happened. These payments can be used for any matter regarding the child. This can include housing, food, entertainment, schooling, extracurricular activities, and more. The court determines child support based on several factors. These factors 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
There are some cases in which a non-custodial parent falls behind on payments or ignores the obligation altogether. When this happens, Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Child Support Enforcement steps in to resolve the issue. Some actions that may be taken by the Bureau is to receive court orders for child support. One order that can be issued is an income withholding order. This directs an employer to take child support payments from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck for all current support and unpaid past support. If this method is unsuccessful, the “Insurance Intercept Program” is available. This allows insurance settlement money to be accessed in order to pay child support.
If a parent fails to pay their court-ordered support payments, they can face certain consequences. This may include:
- A charge of civil contempt
- Seizing bank accounts and tax refunds
- Suspension of a drivers license
- Passports being denied
If circumstances change amongst a parents financial status, child support payments can be modified. This allows for a change in payments to an amount that fits their new circumstances. Some circumstances may call for an increase in payments while others may call for a reduction. An increase in the payment amount may be requested if there is a raise or increase in income or if a child requires more money for medical treatments. A reduction in payments may be required if a parent loses their job. A reduction in child support payments may only be approved if the parent can show a significant change in their ability to meet support payments.
Contact our Firm
If you or a family member is seeking representation for a child support case, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.
Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.