Child and spousal support

Whether your family is facing divorce, separation or other situation, you may wonder if child and spousal support applies to your situation. An experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney can help you learn more about the state’s laws regarding child support or alimony and whether you’ll qualify to receive support or if you might have to pay support.

How does child support work in Pennsylvania?

Monthly payments made to the custodial parent, or the parent who has primary physical custody of the child, are known as child support payments. In most cases, a non-custodial parent must pay child support until the child turns 18. At times, parents might be ordered to pay child support for a longer period if the child has disabilities or if the child goes on to vocational school or college.

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Child support is calculated based on the Pennsylvania child support guidelines, which determine the support award based on both parents' income and how many children are in the family. Estimates made using the state Department of Human Services child support calculator aren’t set in stone.

A judge could decide to adjust the amount based on special needs or other circumstances. An unemployed or underemployed parent isn’t exempt from child support, either. A judge could determine what that adult should be making based on age, health, education and earning capacity. The judge then would impose a set monthly child support amount based on those calculations.

How does spousal support or alimony work in Pennsylvania?

Alimony and spousal support are similar but separate areas of law in Pennsylvania. Alimony refers to post-divorce payments, while spousal support refers to payments made during a couple’s separation before the divorce is final.

Pennsylvania is the only state that uses mandatory guidelines to determine spousal support, which is meant to encourage a quick settlement. Spousal support is determined by estimating 40 percent of the difference between the payee’s monthly income and the recipient’s monthly income if there are no children. If there are children, the income differential is reduced by the amount of child support and the result is multiplied by 30 percent.

Alimony does not have set calculation guidelines in Pennsylvania. Instead, the state uses a list of criteria that determine if alimony will be awarded. More information on alimony can be found in the Pennsylvania code.

Call a child and spousal support attorney

It can be tough to determine your rights under Pennsylvania’s child support and spousal support laws. Make sure you have an experienced York, Pa., family law attorney who can help you understand what could happen in your case. Call Attorney Kevin Hoffman at Korey Leslie Attorney-at-Law to set up a free consultation to learn how he can help support you in court.