Child Support and Spousal Support
In Pennsylvania, child support is decided based on child support guidelines. In general, the guidelines take the net incomes of both parents and determine their respective child support obligations using a formula. Some things to know about child support:
- Child support is payable to the parent with primary physical custody regardless of which parent makes the most money.
- If parents share custody equally, then the parent with the lower income receives the child support.
- Child support is retroactive to the date of filing. Therefore, the sooner you file, the better.
- Child support is collected by wage attachment.
- The child support determined by the guidelines is a base child support amount. In addition to the base child support, parents will share responsibility for expenses, such as health insurance premiums, daycare, and activity expenses, in proportion to their incomes.
- If you owe child support and can't pay or can't pay the full amount, contact the Domestic Relations Office and let them know your situation. If you simply don't pay, you could be charged with contempt.
- If you don't pay your child support, you could have your bank account seized, lose your driver's license, lose your professional license, or have your passport frozen.
You may be entitled to an adjustment to support if you pay the mortgage on a marital residence.
If you're married and separated and make less money than your spouse, you may be entitled to receive support. There are two types of support available to spouses: spousal support and alimony pendente lite(APL). Both spousal support and APL are calculated the same way, but there are differences in the requirements for each.
Spousal support is considered an entitlement. In other words, a dependent spouse (the spouse who makes less money) is entitled to receive spousal support if the parties are separated, even if no divorce action has been filed. There are some defenses to spousal support, such as when the dependent spouse leaves the marriage.
APL is available after a divorce complaint has been filed and is based on need. However, once the need is shown, APL is calculated the same as spousal support.
Both spousal support and APL are calculated based on the same formula. If there are no children, spousal support/APL is 40% of the difference between the net incomes. If there are children, it's 30% of the difference between the net incomes after child support is deducted.
Finding an Experienced Pennsylvania Child Support or Spousal Support Attorney
At L. Theodore Hoppe, Jr., Esquire — Attorney at Law, we've offered estate planning, elder law, family law, and business law to help people prepare for accidents, illnesses, or death for over 30 years. Contact our estate planning law firm if you need an estate planning attorney, child support, or spousal support lawyer in Media, Pennsylvania. I serve clients in Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Bucks counties and cities, including Philadelphia, Media, Norristown, and West Chester.