When a couple with children decides to get a divorce, they will have to determine where the children will live and how much the non-custodial parent will have to pay in child support. Pennsylvania Courts use a complicated formula to calculate the child support owed each month.
Both parents are responsible for contributing to the child’s needs in different ways. In a more traditional custody set up, the custodial parent, or the parent the child primarily lives with, will provide the child with things they need to survive, such as food, shelter, transportation, and clothing. The non-custodial parent, will contribute to these basic needs by making monthly child support payments.
The courts will consider various factors when making this determination to ensure that the best interests of the children are met. Courts will look at the parents’ income and expenses required to care for the child. Some of the most common expenses include day care expenses, medical/health insurance, education expenses, and expenses related to the child’s extracurricular activities. If the child has medical issues, the non-custodial parent will also have to pay part of the child’s additional medical expenses.
Generally, the payer parent will have to pay child support until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school. If the child has medical issues, support may be required even after the child becomes a legal adult.
The courts will typically review the amount of support owed every four years. However, parents can also file for child support modification if they have a change in circumstances that warrants a modification (e.g. loss of employment, health issues). An attorney in your area can assist with all child custody and support issues that arise during your divorce.