Child Support Attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
After a divorce, there are many legal issues that come to light—one of these is dealing with child support. One parent may need assistance getting child support from the other parent, or the other parent may think they are being asked to pay too much in child support. If this is the case for you, your next step is to contact a child support attorney. Our skilled attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, helps clients find effective resolutions in matters involving child-related issues, including support.
At the Law Office of MariAnn Hathaway, we strive to provide a favorable outcome for each client and their children. Our attorney has more than three decades of legal experience helping clients fight for what’s best for them and their families. Our law firm serves clients throughout Washington County.
Understanding Child Support in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law requires all parents to support their children, including financially. In Pennsylvania, one parent can be ordered to pay monthly payments—known as child support—to cover the costs of raising their child(ren).
In most cases, these monthly payments are made from one parent to another and are usually ordered after a divorce or separation. Pennsylvania law recognizes two classifications of parents for custody and support purposes:
Custodial parents. These parents care for a child most of the time and can receive payments from the noncustodial parent.
Noncustodial parents. These parents have less parenting time and can be ordered to pay child support.
Pennsylvania law assumes that the custodial parent financially supports their child because they care for him/her most of the time. Child support payments are calculated according to the state’s guidelines.
Child Support Guidelines in Pennsylvania
The guidelines for child support are based on two main variables:
the number of children who require support; and
the income of each parent.
On top of these two variables, child support guidelines in Pennsylvania also take into account a number of other factors, including:
the child’s reasonable needs;
the noncustodial parent’s ability to support their child financially;
the fixed obligations of either party;
the noncustodial parent’s other support obligations;
the child’s age;
the medical expenses excluded from insurance coverage;
the standard of living; and,
other factors that impact the best interests of the child.
Pennsylvania courts exercise broad discretion when ordering child support based on the above-mentioned factors. Because of this, having a family law attorney guide you through the process and advocate for you can make all of the difference when are figuring out your or your ex-partner's obligations.
What Is the Child Support Process in Pennsylvania?
You need to understand what the child support process entails to know what to expect when requesting child support or being asked to support your children. Typically, the child support process in Pennsylvania involves the following steps:
The parent who requests child support files a Complaint for Support.
A conference is scheduled in order to determine the appropriate child support amount based on the guidelines.
The conference is held before a conference officer, who is hired by the county to review all factors and determine the appropriate amount of child support.
Parents present their evidence, including proof of income, at the conference to convince the conference officer to decrease or increase the amount.
After the conference, parents can appeal the officer’s decision within 20 days.
If you are not satisfied with the conference officer’s decision in your child support case, seek the assistance of a passionate family law attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
Modifying an Existing Arrangement
When a court orders child support, the noncustodial parent—also known as the obligor—must make monthly payments to support their child until the order is terminated. However, if the obligor can no longer make child support payments (e.g., due to job loss), they can request modifications to the existing arrangement.
Child support orders are not set in stone. Pennsylvania courts can modify the order when there is proof of material and substantial changes in circumstances, including but not limited to:
loss of a job;
decrease in income;
a new child in the family; or
These are not the only changes in circumstances that may warrant a modification of the child support order. If you are considering requesting changes to your current child support order, you might want to seek the assistance of a skilled attorney. An attorney will help you navigate the modification process.
Termination of Child Support
Many parents who seek child support or are ordered to support their children financially ask, “When does child support end?” There are several ways child support can be terminated:
The child turns 18.
The child becomes emancipated before turning 18.
The child gets married.
The child joins the military.
The child leaves the home.
Each case is unique, which is why, under certain circumstances, the obligor parent may be ordered to pay even after the child’s 18th birthday. You might want to discuss your particular case with an attorney to determine when child support may end.
Child Support Attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
If you need legal assistance with any issues involving child support, contact the Law Office of MariAnn Hathaway and schedule a meeting with Attorney Hathaway. Our child support attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, will fight tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your situation. Request a time to meet with our attorney and discuss your specific case.