The idea behind child support is relatively simple: divorce does not end either parent’s responsibility for providing financial support for their children. Whether a child lives with a parent full-time, part-time, or not at all, there is a monetary obligation, and a formula for determining what the amount of support should be. If both the parent who is paying support and the parent who is receiving support understand that concept, there should be little that needs to be negotiated. Unfortunately, there are many instances when parents cannot come to an agreement about what the appropriate responsibility is for each. The family law attorneys at Smith & Horwitz have the knowledge and experience you need to provide you with legal guidance and representation regarding negotiating this challenging issue, as well as representation in court if an agreement can’t be reached.
Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines provide a straightforward formula designed to ensure that children are supported proportionate to their parents’ income. They offer a weighted scale that takes several different factors into account, including actual income or earnings potential for each parent, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and whether spousal maintenance or alimony is being provided. Though the calculation should be simple, it is sometimes a point of contention, and it may be necessary to conduct a financial inventory of both parents to determine if there are other holdings or earnings to be considered. Beyond wages and salary, these may include bonuses and overtime pay or commission payments, interest earned from investments or ownership of a business, unemployment, or workers’ compensation payments. It may also include lump-sum awards that come from lotteries or legal settlements, or income from a retirement fund, Social Security, or Social Security disability.
If a parent has no income, or their income has dropped precipitously from what had been earned in the past, it may lower their calculated child support to a point that is not representative of their earnings capacity. In the interest of ensuring that your child receives the appropriate support from both parents, Smith & Horwitz will gather evidence in order to show that past income, skill set, or educational level should be taken into consideration. Likewise, if changes occur within the family or either parent’s circumstances, modifications may need to be made to existing agreements. Our expert financial analysis will be used to obtain an appropriate child support payment for your children.
At Smith & Horwitz, we are committed to providing you with legal counsel and representation through all phases of your divorce and for all of your family law needs. Contact us to discuss your case and schedule an appointment.