Cohen Family Law Firm

What Is Child Support In Pennsylvania?

Child support is primarily the financial obligation of a noncustodial parent to help support their children.

What Does Child Support Cover Regarding Financial Needs?

Child support will include out of pocket expenses for reasonable costs of raising a child. The money goes towards food, clothing, school, or activities; there may be default or specific provisions regarding out of pocket medical expenses as well as requirements for specific directions running health coverage. It includes anything involved in the care and support of a minor child.

Does The Paying Parent Have A Say In How The Child Support Money Is Spent?

If there is a support order in effect and the money is going to the other parent, then they are free to spend it as they see fit. However, the credit will go to the parent who is paying for the child support amount. Now, if the paying parent has some reason to believe that the money is not utilized for maintenance, or that the amount should change, they can always petition to modify that child support amount.

How Are Healthcare Issues Addressed In Child Support Agreements?

Typically, in Pennsylvania, the parent that has primary physical custody of the child will be responsible for the first $250 for out of pocket medical expenses for the year. Once it goes over the $250, it is then divided percentage wise, but that depends on the dual incomes of both parties. For example, once you go beyond $250 out of pocket, the parent who is paying child support might be responsible for the remainder of medical expenses after that $250.

How Is The Process Of Child Support Initiated?

Typically, child support starts two ways. A custodial parent could file for child support. If a custodial parent asks for welfare assistance, then the Department of Public Welfare will file a complaint about child support against the non-custodial parent. The date that the complaint for the child support is filed is when calculations begin. Then a conference is scheduled where both parties meet with a conference officer. They will provide income and expense information, which is calculated by a formula that provides guideline amounts for child support. At that point, both parties can agree or object to this sum.

If both sides agree, then that amount will become final. If the parties disagree with the amount, then the case will be scheduled for a court hearing, and both sides will provide information and testimony regarding their income and expenses calculated by the support master. The support master will issue a report outlining the decision on the support amount. Then if both parties object to that sum, they will have 20 days from the date of the master’s report to file exceptions, which will then be heard by a judge.

What Can I Do If I Disagree With The Child Support Order After It Has Been Established By Court?

If you have gone through all of the steps, including a conference with all parties and a meeting with a support master and both sides are at a deadlock, and you file exceptions, your exceptions will be granted in whole, in part or denied. If the exceptions are denied, the master’s order becomes a final order. It’s possible that they allowed the exceptions in which case it is possible that it could be sent back to the support master for another hearing on specific issues, but the support master may grant the exceptions outright. You could always appeal to the court of appeals. However, that appeal will be very limited regarding an error in fact or law.

It is possible that a call like that could succeed but not very likely. If, however, someone’s income or their financial circumstances were to change, then they could always file a petition to modify the child support amount, and it is possible that an order is changed to a higher or a lower number.

For more information on Child Support In Pennsylvania, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (267) 238-3841 today.

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