Work Child Support Into Your Divorce
Pennsylvania’s divorce rate is the 11th lowest in the nation. There are a lot of factors that must be considered during a divorce; if you have children, their care must also be examined and decided between the two parents. Along with the time spent with each parent, divorce proceedings frequently include child support orders.
The Purpose of Child Support
Child support is often ordered by the court when one parent has the majority of time with the child or children to help offset expenses associated with raising the child. Generally, both parents are expected to contribute equally to raising a child. When one parent is given significantly more time than the other, child support helps ensure that this contribution stays as equal as possible. This is why the parent with majority time is given child support by the other parent; the other parent doesn’t have the child as much but should still maintain equal responsibility for the child.
Child support is intended to be used to provide care for the child, including medical expenses, after-school care, day care, clothing, food, and other needs that must be met. Child support is usually paid directly from one parent to another. However, it may also go through a state agency, if necessary.
Considerations in Calculating Child Support
Child support is not just about how much money one or both parents earn. While the income of each parent is a consideration, there are other factors taken into consideration when calculating child support as well. These factors include:
- Number and ages of children
- Medical expenses, especially if a child has special needs
- Standard of living
- Assets and liabilities of parents
- Additional household income
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the child’s health insurance may be ordered separately from child support to be paid by either or both parents, or it may be included as part of the child support calculations. The court will also take the child’s best interests into consideration. While child support is meant to offset expenses for one parent, the goal is to help ensure that the child has a healthy, safe and comfortable environment. The money received in child support is intended to be spent on the care of the child.
Altering Child Support
While there are state calculations used to determine child support, these calculations are based on financial and other factors at the time the child support is awarded or ordered. However, changes can occur in parents’ lives that would prompt a parent to ask about altering child support as it is ordered. This is especially important if you have been ordered to pay child support and have been struggling to make your monthly payments each month.
In order for the child support order to be altered, either parent must demonstrate a substantial and material change in circumstances, such as a job change relocation or a new baby in the family. While family courts understand that circumstances change, child support cannot be altered frequently or without a good reason. This is why it’s recommended that, if you think you need an alteration to your child support order, you should speak with a qualified child support lawyer. An attorney can help you determine whether a child support alteration is warranted and how to go about it properly.
Child support is not a way for one parent to just get money from the other parent. Instead, it is meant to help provide for the care of the child after divorce by offsetting expenses that come with the majority time with the child. However, child support orders can be altered if circumstances change. A qualified child support lawyer can best determine if your child support orders can be altered.
If you have a child support order that needs to be altered or you have questions about your child support, please contact Joanne Kleiner & Associates in Jenkintown at (215) 886-1266 and speak to a professional child support lawyer.