How to Know if Your Child Support Agreement is Fair

Making Certain Your Child Support Agreement is Fair

Mom at grecery storeIf you are divorced and have minor children, you want to know that their basic financial needs are being met, but you also want to know that you and your ex-spouse are both paying your fair share. In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the amount of child support ordered, unless agreed upon separately by the parties, is based on a state formula. The formula typically takes into consideration the income of both parents, as well as any special needs of the child.

Working Out an Agreement

If you and your spouse want to work out an agreement, there are some things you need to know up front:

  • A non-custodial parent who makes the same amount or less than a custodial parent will still be likely ordered by a court to pay support. Child support is designed, in part, to ensure that both parties share in the costs of maintaining the child’s principal residence. The custodial parent will have more expenses for food as well.
  • It will be harder to collect back support—Without an order from the court, it can be difficult to collect back support, if your spouse falls in arrears.
  • The court may reject your agreement if there is evidence of domestic violence, misrepresentation, duress or undue influence
  • The bottom line—what’s best for your children. It’s not about how much you can get or how little you can pay. It’s about what your children really need. Paying less than they need can make their home life difficult, but demanding more than they need can put them at risk when they visit the non-custodial parent, as the non-custodial parent may be unable to a safe environment.

Obtaining an Order from the Court

Though the court will use the state formula as a guideline, the judge always has the discretion to order more or less, based on circumstances. The important factors when asking the court to order child support are:

  • Ensuring that all reasonable income is included in the calculation—any consistent income, from any source, ought to be included
  • Making certain that you address special needs, including health insurance, cost of uninsured medical care and private school tuition, if applicable

Contact the Law Office of Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates

Let us help you successfully resolve your family law problems. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney, contact our office online or call us at 215-886-1266.

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Montgomery County Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals