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Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support

How is a child support obligation established?

In Pennsylvania, a child of divorced or separated parents deserves to receive parental support from both parents, as if they were still together. It is a result of this steadfast rule that judges in our state will typically order a noncustodial parent to make child support payments to the child’s custodial parent. Child support orders may be established during the course of divorce proceedings or upon request, generally made by the custodial parent.

How is child support calculated?

Judges in our state use a set of guidelines to determine the amount the noncustodial parent will pay, typically until the child turns 18. Judges will consider things like: the reasonable needs of the child, both parents’ net incomes, a parent’s ability to make payments and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

What is the definition of income?

Income is defined as money received as compensation for services. This covers a variety of sources, though, including: wages and salaries, bonuses or commissions, pensions, interest from a trust or an estate, and even Social Security Disability benefits. Lottery winnings and insurance settlements may also qualify as income in Pennsylvania.

What does child support cover?

Child support should first and foremost cover the cost of the child’s basic needs, including food and clothing. It may also cover medical care and the cost of child care. A family law judge will have the ultimate say, though, after reviewing all information presented by both parents.

How does someone file for child support?

The process of filing for child support in Pennsylvania depends on the county. In Luzerne County, an appointment is made with an intake officer to file a complaint for child support with the court. A support conference is then scheduled where information will be presented that shows the financial needs of the child.

What happens if a person doesn’t make support payments?

Failing to meet the conditions of a child support order can have serious consequences in Pennsylvania. The noncustodial parent may be held in civil contempt by a judge, sent to jail for up to six months, required to pay a fine and have income or assets withheld until the obligation is met.

Requests for modification of an order are possible if the financial situation of the noncustodial parent has changed significantly.

Contact Our Firm For Further Assistance

If you have further questions, the attorneys at Vinsko & Associates, P.C., are here to help. We serve clients in Wilkes-Barre throughout Luzerne County and Northeastern Pennsylvania with everything from establishing paternity and a reasonable support obligation to requesting modification of an existing order.

To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call 570-550-0815 or use our online form.