Whether you are paying or receiving child support, a fair support order is in your best interests. Pennsylvania has detailed guidelines for basic support, but the guidelines only work if the data entered is accurate. Judges have discretion to deviate up or down from the basic child support amount, but can only exercise that discretion wisely when given all the facts. Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C. in Media helps parents get fair support orders by compelling financial transparency and raising relevant facts the court must consider. With more than 20 years of experience in child support matters, we are fully capable of helping you protect your financial interests and your child’s welfare.
Pennsylvania law recognizes that children are entitled to financial support from both parents whether the parents are divorced or were never married. Thus, the commonwealth’s child support guidelines, created by our Supreme Court, base support on the combined monthly incomes of both parents. The first step is to calculate the total adjusted income, which is the total of both parent’s monthly income after taxes minus allowable deductions. This calculation, when applied to the guidelines, yields a baseline cost the Supreme Court believes is fair for raising one, two, three, or more children at the parents’ combined income level.
For example, parents with a combined monthly adjusted income of $2,000 would be asked to pay $805 to raise three children. The next step is to apportion that total between the parents based on their relative earnings. For example, if one parent made $1,200 per month and the other parent made $800, the first parent is making 60 percent of the $2,000 income and must pay 60 percent of the support. In a joint custody arrangement, where parents have the children living with them for an equal number of days, the first parent would pay 10 percent of the total amount to the second parent, or $80.50.
Of course, the calculation changes when parents don’t share physical custody equally. This simple example also doesn’t take other factors into account, such as the cost of health insurance for the children, daycare costs, and additional expenses for a child’s special needs.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court guidelines only give us a presumptive amount for child support. The court can still exercise its discretion to change the final amount. Factors the court must consider include:
Given our vast experience litigating support matters, we understand how the court is likely to rule on a number of issues. This knowledge enables us to negotiate settlements that save the parties time and expense while allowing them to retain greater control over the outcome. However, when an opposing party is unreasonable, we are prepared to take your issues to court and advocate for a child support order that serves your children’s best interest.
As stated earlier, fair child support orders rest on two keys elements:
When you retain our services for your child custody dispute, you can rely on us to fight for your rights aggressively and professionally.
Raising children is expensive, and you should not be stuck paying for the costs alone. If your child’s other parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, you have legal rights. Some of the penalties for failing to pay court-ordered child support include:
We help clients take decisive steps to compel their child’s other parent to pay child support arrears and to continue paying as long as the obligation lasts.
Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C. takes decisive action to help parents obtain fair child support orders based on accurate financial data and relevant factors. Call us at 610-624-4227 or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation. We are conveniently located at 206 West State Street, just a few short blocks from the Delaware County Courthouse.