Calculating child support payments can become a difficult part of the divorce process, as so many factors come into play. However, it is important to know that the goal of child support is to maintain the best interests of the child, regardless of the separation.
Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. has gathered the most frequently asked questions when it comes to Pennsylvania child support.
Can child support be paid directly to the child?
Typically, child support payments are from one parent to another to help financially support the child. In most cases, except under extreme circumstances, child support cannot be paid directly to the child as a minor.
When do payments stop?
Child support payments end when the child is 18 years of age or has graduated from high school, whichever occurs last, with special needs exceptions. At that point, you no longer have a legal obligation to pay child support payments in Pennsylvania.
However, if in your child support agreement you and your ex have determined that you will help financially support the child during his or her college years, the court may enforce that if it has been documented.
If you have a change in income, however, you can modify the child support agreement.
How is child support calculated?
Pennsylvania child support is calculated based on:
- Needs of the child
- Household income
- Child’s age
- Assets and liabilities of each parent
- Medical expenses paid out of pocket
- Standard of living
- Best interests of the child
Does child support impact my benefits?
Typically, child support does not impact Social Security benefits–however, your lower income bracket can impact your child support payments as a recipient of benefits.
For example, if you become injured and are now collecting disability, you may be making substantially less than you were prior to the injury.
In those cases, you should request a child support modification to reflect your new financial status.
What happens if child support is not paid?
Under the law, you must pay child support. If you do not pay your child support, you may be found in contempt and face fines and potential jail time.
What doesn’t child support cover?
Child support does not cover items for the other parent like clothing, food, etc. It should also not be used toward vacations and activities the child is not participating in.
In general, child support broadly covers food, clothing, and shelter for your child. In addition, it covers out-of-pocket medical expenses.
What is the maximum child support payment in Pennsylvania?
Under the income-shares model of calculating child support, there is no minimum or maximum amount of money for monthly child support payments. Rather it is calculated using a formula to ensure the custodial parent is receiving the adequate amount of funds for the child as if the couple has remained together to raise the child under one shared income.
If you are in the process of creating a child support agreement, you need a family law firm that knows the process and can ensure the child’s interest is at the forefront of the decisions being made. Contact attorney Craig Kalinoski today to have your child support case reviewed.