Pittsburgh parents who have minor children may be entitled to receive child support, as well as help with paying child care expenses, medical insurance and expenses, private school tuition, and summer camp and activities. It can be challenging to determine the proper amount of child support because the law calculates income differently than a tax return, and while expenses are generally ignored, some expenses can make a difference. Some cases involve complex aspects like bonuses, commissions, deferred compensation, unreported cash income, pass-through business income and distributions. The Pittsburgh child support lawyers at Pollock Begg are prepared to meet these challenges in contested hearings as well as settlement negotiations to determine the proper amount of child support.

Who pays child support in Pennsylvania?

Both parents are responsible to contribute to the support of their minor children to the best of their earning capacities and financial resources. Child support is a priority obligation, and a parent is expected to meet this obligation by adjusting his or her other expenses. A parent’s duty to support his or her child continues until the child reaches 18 years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. A parent may be required to support an adult child who is incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental disability. A parent is not required to contribute to a child’s college education expenses unless he or she has contractually obligated himself or herself to do so.

How does Pennsylvania calculate child support?

Child support is generally determined by a guideline published by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the parents’ combined net monthly income exceeds the limits of the support guidelines (presently $30,000 per month), the amount of child support is determined by a formula. The guidelines and child support formula are based upon the parent’s net monthly income, which may differ from take-home pay. A parent’s net monthly income is equal to gross monthly income from all sources, minus federal, state and local income taxes, FICA taxes, union dues, mandatory retirement contributions and sometimes alimony paid to the other parent. Voluntary payroll deductions, such as charitable contributions, credit union deductions, savings bonds and voluntary retirement contributions are not deducted from gross income.

How does custody affect child support?

The child support award may be reduced when the paying parent exercises custody for more than 40% of the time. The percentage of time is determined by the number of overnights that each parent has custody. In addition to the basic child support award, the paying parent must contribute to the child’s health insurance premiums, unreimbursed medical, dental and optical expenses and child care expenses. Additionally, the paying parent may be responsible for a share of private school tuition, summer camp expenses, tutoring, sports or arts lessons or other special needs, if such expenses are reasonable in light of the parents’ incomes and station in life. These obligations are added to the basic amount of child support.

Call a lawyer at Pollock Begg in Pittsburgh for help with defending or pursuing a child support obligation, especially in complex cases.

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