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Reducing child support when a second family grows

Child support payments can be complex in Pennsylvania, especially when multiple families are involved. For instance, a person may have been ordered to pay after a divorce, gotten remarried, and then began having children as part of that second family. As that family grows and the financial burden increases, that person can ask for the payments to the first family to be reduced, so as to have enough to support the current family.

However, this will not always be done. For the court to even consider reducing the order, the total amount of child support needed—for both families—has to be over half of that person's total monthly earnings. For example, if the person earns $2,000 per months and has to support Child One at $600 and Child 2 at $600, a reduction is possible—though not automatic—but if the support for both was set at $500, it would not be considered.

Additionally, even in cases where the court does determine that a reduction makes sense, the support levels for both families have to be even. The second family cannot be deemed more important or treated in a special manner just because it is the current family. Therefore, the court will never reduce the payments so far that the second family has more money for child support than the first, but will seek to find an even balance for both.

As you can see, wading through this entire process can take time, and you need a very good understanding of what the law allows and what the court will need to see to consider a fair reduction in payments.

Source: The Pennsylvania Code, "Rule 1910.16-7. Support Guidelines. Awards of Child Support When There are Multiple Families," accessed July 24, 2015

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