If you are a parent who is currently navigating a Pennsylvania divorce or are thinking about filing a petition, you no doubt have a lot on your mind at this time. Settling a divorce can be challenging, especially if there are extenuating circumstances causing high levels of stress, such as contention between you and your co-parent.
If, for instance, you plan to request child support, it’s critical that you understand state guidelines before proceedings begin, so that you know what to expect, as well as how the court will determine how much support payments should be.
The court reviews each case by its own merits
Before ruling on child support issues, a family court judge will carefully review your case. There are certain factors typically taken into consideration, although no two cases are exactly the same, so what the court decides in your case might be different from another child custody case. Child support covers children’s basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, but it also often includes other financial issues, such as education, health care and more.
How does the court determine payment amount?
The following list includes various factors the judge who oversees your case is likely to consider to help him or her make decisions when you have requested child support:
- Your ex’s net income per month, as well as your own
- How much parenting time the non-custodial parent will have
- Number and ages of children
- Financial needs of each child
Once the court issues a child support order, you and your ex must adhere to its terms. You can, however, request modification of a court order for justifiable reasons, such as needing more money because one of your children has developed an adverse health condition requiring extensive medical treatment.
There are online resources available to help you estimate child support
As mentioned earlier, a Pennsylvania family court judge may consider state guidelines, then make an informed decision based on the merits of a specific case. There is no way to know exactly how much child support the court may or may not order in response to your petition. However, there are online tools available that can help a concerned parent estimate a reasonable amount of financial support that may be relevant in his or her case.
It is always best to remember that the court has children’s best interests in mind when making child custody decisions in a divorce, which often includes child support. The better prepared you are to inform the court of your children’s financial needs, the greater a chance you might have of convincing the court to rule in your favor.