Pennsylvania family law attorneys understand that all families are different and many have unique circumstances. When two individuals share children, the issue of child support often comes up regardless of whether they are married, not married or processing a divorce. Because child support can be a sensitive and complicated topic, many individuals seek the advice of an experienced attorney.
When child support discussions begin, the first order of business is usually establishing the relationship of the parents to the child or children involved. Determining the mother’s relationship in most cases depends on whether she gave birth to a child. Determining a father’s paternity can be more involved and complicated, depending on the case. When couples are married and a child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father, but if couples are not married at birth, there is a legal process and form that can be filed through three different agencies to declare paternity. The most invasive way to determine paternity is through a DNA test, which typically involves testing all parties of the family, including the mother and child.
Once maternity and/or paternity is established, child support is discussed, calculated through a formula and ordered to be paid, usually by the parent who earns a higher income or does not have custody of a child. Sometimes paying child support is difficult to pay or challenging to receive. Garnishing wages can be a solution to ensure receipt of support and can occur on numerous sources of income other than just what is earned at a traditional job.
Understandably, paying for child support can sometimes be difficult, but there can be legal consequences when it is not paid. Because child support is ordered by the court, a willful failure to pay it may result in a contempt of court finding. Pennsylvania family law attorneys are experienced with complex and unique family situations and can advise through all proceedings, advocating for the client’s desires and needs.