Before getting a divorce, couples need to manage important family and financial matters. The good thing is that custody, child support and divorce paperwork can be dealt with and filed at the same time.

In Pennsylvania, child support payments are made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial one, and the sum is calculated by the court with the help of PA Support Guidelines. The custodial parent is not obliged to pay support as it is presupposed that he or she already has enough child care costs to cover.

Factors in the Pennsylvania Child Support Formula

While making a decision on child support percentage, the court takes into consideration the following factors:

  • Best interest of the child;
  • Custody type;
  • Age of kids;
  • Number of children in the family;
  • Income of both parties after tax deductions;
  • Additional childcare expenses.

Calculating Child Support Payments in Pennsylvania

It is crucial that you carefully read the state guidelines on making calculations before you enter any numbers in the forms. You can receive an estimate at the PA Department of Human Services. To do it, visit the website, click on Resources, and choose an Estimate option. Once you do, fill in the fields with the relevant information to get the approximate sum.

How to apply for child support in Pennsylvania?

If you’re getting a divorce, you can resolve custody and child support matters all at once. To do it, you need to:

  • Collect paperwork for your divorce, including the one that covers kids.
  • Fill out the forms, file them with the court, and pay the filing fee.
  • Ask your spouse to sign the Affidavit of Acceptance, mail them the copies of the papers, or get someone over 18 to serve them the copies.
  • File the rest of the forms after the 90-day waiting period is over and get a Divorce Decree.

In case this is a separate process, you can:

  • Use an E-Service or visit a Domestic Relations Section in the county of your residence.
  • If you choose the second option, you should fill in all the needed paperwork, such as Application for Child or Spousal Support form, Intake Questionnaire, and Complaint for Support. After that, you need to print these forms and sign them.
  • You also have to contact your local DRS to find out whether you need to schedule the date when you can file the documents and what fees you are obliged to pay if any.

Child Support Calculator Tips

  • Child support rates are determined based on Chapter 1910 of The Pennsylvania Code.
  • Net Income.In general, the amount of child support is based on both parties’ monthly net income. It includes salaries, bonuses, fees, commissions, income from business or property, interest, rents, royalties, and dividends, pensions, Social Security benefits, and alimony.
  • Child support payments may depend on the type of custody. If spouses have shared custody, and the kid spends more than 40% of time with the obligor, then he or she will be entitled to support reduction based on this reason.
  • Health insurance. In the case of shared custody, both parents are obliged to pay for the child’s health insurance. If there is one custodial parent, the obligor has to cover these expenses; however, it should not exceed 5% of his or her net income.
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Example of Calculating Child Support

Robin and Taylor are getting a divorce and deciding on child support for their 3 children. As Taylor is a non-custodial parent, he has to pay to Robin as she is a primary caregiver. Taylor’s gross income is $2600 per month; besides, he does not belong to any union. His wife, Robin, earns $2000. The amount of child care expenses is approximately $1100 a month. In this regard, the obligor’s (Taylor’s) share is 56.03%, while Robin’s share is 43.97%.

With total monthly deductions of $476.46, Taylor’s net income is $2123.54. Making calculation of child support, Taylor finds out that he has to pay $1423.16, where $806.83 is monthly share of the basic child support obligation and $616.33 is monthly share of child care expenses. However, Taylor does not include any extra activities such as private tuition, summer camp, or private lessons in his calculations. If he did, the amount of child support would be $1251.15, as according to the laws, it does not cover such extra expenses.

Pennsylvania Child Support Resources

Frequently Asked Questions About State Child Support

1) What Is Child Support Supposed to Cover?

In Pennsylvania, child support covers all the basic needs such as schooling, food, clothes, and housing. However, it does not include so-called extra activities such as additional lessons, summer camps, uninsured medical care, etc.

2) How Is Child Support Collected?

In the state, one can pay child support in several ways: Cash, Cashier’s Check, or Money Order payments in Domestic Relation’s Office; in the form of a check or money order; with a credit or debit card; through MoneyGram; and via Bill Pay Service.

3) Can the Amount of Child Support Be Modified?

The amount to be paid by the obligor can be modified if one of the parents files a Petition for Modification. A court will consider custody, expenses and, income changes along with a few other factors as valid reasons to modify the order.

4) Does Child Support End Automatically When the Child Turns 18?

Not automatically. As soon as the kid turns 18 and finishes school, the payment of child support may be terminated. To request for termination, one of the parents has to file a Petition for Modification.

5) What if we Share Custody?

If spouses have shared custody, the payment is made by the parent with higher income to the parent with lower income.