child support

How is Child Support Actually Determined?

How is child support actually determined? You might think that child support is determined by a judge who arbitrarily comes up with a “fair” number. You might also think (or fear) that your child’s other parent will be able to trick or convince a judge or other official into awarding you a smaller amount of support than you actually deserve.  Neither could be further from the truth.

In most cases, child support is determined by a specific mathematical formula created by the Pennsylvania legislature. This formula considers:

  • Both parents’ income;
  • The number of children;
  • And the amount of custody each parent has as well as some additional considerations.

The formula is used to establish guidelines for awarding child support. Likewise, there can be no deviation from these guidelines except in very specific and special circumstances.  Because these guidelines are not discretionary, no amount of pleading with the Court will help a parent avoid paying what the Pennsylvania legislature and courts have decided is fair.

However, the amount of child support can change over time. For example, it may be modified based on a change in employment, a determination by the court of earning capacity, and other factors.

We know how to ensure that the amount of child support you are paying or receiving is appropriate. So please call us if have questions or need help.


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