Lancaster Child Support Lawyer
Pennsylvania family law attorney assists paying and recipient parents
Both parents have a legal and moral obligation to provide for their sons and daughters. Unfortunately, when a relationship ends, bitterness between parents might spill over into conflicts over child support responsibilities. Chan & Associates, located in Lancaster, provides comprehensive legal counsel on issues relating to the establishment of child support rates, as well as modification and enforcement proceedings. To avoid unfair financial strain, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to stand up for you in matters involving child support.
What factors determine child support in PA?
Generally, Pennsylvania courts use several factors to determine what amount of child support should be paid, including the following:
- The income of both parents
- Premiums paid for the child’s health insurance
- Child care costs
- Alimony and spousal support terms
- Time spent in each parent’s home
- Union dues
- Non-voluntary payments to retirement accounts
The state uses what is called the “income shares” model to set the baseline child support rate. This means that each parent’s financial responsibility is proportionate to their percentage of their combined income. For example, if the noncustodial parent earns $10,000 per month and the custodial parent earns $5,000 per month, the noncustodial parent would be responsible for two-thirds of the overall support amount, before adjustments are made.
Of course, there are many situations where substantial expenses are not accounted for in the general child support factors. A son or daughter might have extraordinary medical expenses or participate in an expensive extracurricular activity. Parents might share costs for college or private school. I look closely at the individual circumstances in each child support matter and strive to reach an equitable resolution that enables both parents to focus on their son or daughter’s well-being.
How is an action seeking child support brought in the court’s Domestic Relations Office?
If you live apart from your co-parent and do not have an order requiring them to pay child support, my firm can prepare the necessary application for the Domestic Relations Office of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas or the relevant court where you reside. For some mothers, the first step in this process is establishing legal paternity for the child’s father. If the man disputes that he is your son or daughter’s biological parent, the issue will likely be decided based on genetic testing. Once paternity is established, I provide the court with the pertinent financial information so that an appropriate child support order is entered.
Can a support order be modified?
Child support orders are scheduled to be re-evaluated every three years, but you can petition for a modification prior to that date if a substantial change occurs that might warrant a revision to the current rate. I work on child support modification agreements in a variety of situations, including the following:
- A significant increase or decrease in a parent’s income
- A change in physical custody arrangements
- Extraordinary medical expenses
- Shifting of health insurance or daycare costs
- A parent having a child with a new partner
Remember that no matter how compelling the reason for modifying child support terms, this is not something you can do on your own. Whether you and your co-parent agree on the adjustment or not, I will take prompt action requesting that the order be updated.
Pennsylvania child support enforcement
Under the state’s Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, there are several methods of obtaining payments from a parent who has not honored their court-ordered obligation. Up to 50 percent of a parent’s disposable income can be garnished in order to make up for missed payments. Other potential sanctions include suspension of a driver’s or professional license, reporting to a credit bureau and even a civil contempt charge that could result in jail time. If you are not receiving full, timely child support payments, don’t let a bad problem get worse. I can seek a prompt remedy from the court to help you collect the funds you’re entitled to.
Contact a compassionate Pennsylvania lawyer for assistance with a child support matter
Chan & Associates in Lancaster represents Pennsylvania parents in negotiations and court cases involving child support issues. Please call 717-869-0015 or contact me online to set up a consultation.