What Is Child Support in Central Pennsylvania?
Child support is a financial obligation from a higher earning parent, often with less physical custody, to the other parent until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. In Pennsylvania, child support is obtained through your county’s Domestic Relations Office upon the filing of a Petition for Support.
The team at The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter is ready to fight for fair child support agreements whether you are in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, or anywhere in Central Pennsylvania.
How to Obtain a Child Support Order in Pennsylvania
To obtain an order for child support, the first step is to file a Petition for Support. You may file this petition even if you have not filed a custody or divorce case since child support is considered a separate legal action. You will be asked for quite a bit of information to complete the forms, including names, addresses, employment, income, assets, debts, and the children’s birth certificates and social security numbers.
The effective date of support is typically the date the Petition is filed. The amount of support will be determined once a support conference is scheduled and held, typically a few weeks later. At the conference, the parties meet with a support officer. Representation from one of our Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg child support attorneys at this conference may maximize your award.
To learn more about finances during a divorce read our blog: The Finances of Parenting During a Divorce
How Child Support Is Awarded in PA
Pennsylvania law allows for the awarding of child support utilizing a complex formula. The goal is to award a fair and reasonable amount to support the children. Typically, the amount that each parent has contributed to the total joint income will be the starting point.
Other factors that affect the formula include:
- Medical insurance payments
- Child care expenses as a result of a working parent
- Low and high-income adjustments
Custody Impacts Child Support
The amount of physical custody time a parent has is also a factor. For example, if your child lives with you 80% of the time, then you are devoting more time, energy, and emotional resources thus requiring more support. The amount of support paid to a parent decreases when physical custody for the paying parent is between 40% to 50% of the time. However, even in a 50/50 shared custody situation, one parent may still pay support.
What Are Arrears?
Any past due child support is called arrears. Failure, or refusal, to pay child support can result in punishment, by way of garnishing wages, seizure of bank accounts, restricting or revoking the delinquent parent’s driver’s license or passport, publishing of names in the newspaper, and much more. It is important to follow the Support Order. If you become delinquent and are faced with being in contempt of court, give us a call to discuss your options.
Why Hire Our Divorce Attorneys for Support?
Although the support guidelines are set by the law, each case is unique. Often, unrepresented parties pay more. Unfortunately, they may not be aware that they are entitled to a reduction due to other factors beyond the amount of their weekly paychecks.
Rather than attempt to file your own claim for support, our office can put your mind at ease and maximize the amount of child support you are entitled to receive or pay. Our child support lawyers will be there with you every step of the way.