You have probably heard the saying that life sometimes does not go as planned. Well as many young adults have found, sometimes life comes without a plan-especially when sex is involved. The costs associated with child support can be astronomical.
One of the realities for clients that are involved in child support or spousal support is that the parties' income fluctuates during the course of the order. A support is always modifiable and either party can petition the court to have the order modified at any time. So, for example, if you are paying support, and if your income has decreased as a result of a layoff, reduced work hours, etc., a reduction of your Support Order may be justified.
I have written previously about the expiration of a child support order and have discussed that the order doesn't necessarily expire when the child turns 18 years of age. The recent case involving a New Jersey teenager suing her parents for support (among other things) casts a new light on the issue of parents providing support to their child. The Judge in the case denied the teen's request for immediate support in the amount of $650 per month but scheduled a hearing for April in which he will consider evidence and testimony to determine whether a parent is responsible for providing support to his or her 18 year old daughter - who they had previously kicked out of the house for failure to follow the rules.
In family law, the issues of paternity and child support are some of the most common and tend to go hand in hand. Often, a putative father will ask for a paternity test when the child's mother files for support. If the Court determines that it is appropriate to conduct the testing, it will order the test and the parties will know shortly thereafter whether the child belongs to the man against whom the mother filed the support complaint.
Sometimes in child support cases, the payor ends up paying too much support over a period of time due to a clerical mistake or perhaps a garnishment of a Federal Income Tax return. As a result, there will be a surplus of support. However, the child support office will continue to withdraw the monthly support as scheduled. So what happens with that overpayment?
Our office recently received a telephone call from an individual regarding a step-parent's obligation to pay child support. The prospective client was asking how her new husband's income would change her support order. The child's natural father had filed for a support modification because mother had gotten remarried and because her new husband made a healthy living.
In addition to the three deviation factors I previously wrote about, the Court will consider a number of other issues when deciding whether or not to deviate from the guidelines in entering a child support order. The next factor that a Court can take into consideration is the ages of the children. If the children's ages have an impact on their need for support, the Court can modify the support order accordingly.
In my last blog entry, I provided an overview of the types of factors the court will consider when deciding on whether or not to deviate from a guideline child support order. In this and the next entry, I am going to further break down the reasons you may qualify for a deviation in your support order.
I have previously written blog entries about how Pennsylvania courts calculate child support. The basic child support calculation is relatively straight forward and largely dependent on the parent's relative incomes. However, after the court calculates a basic child support award, it is permitted to deviate from that amount (either increase or decrease the order) under certain circumstances. Evidence of these circumstances can be presented at a hearing and the court will have to consider whether or not to modify the support amount based on the evidence.
Pennsylvania law provides a guideline spreadsheet that establishes a base amount of money that parents must contribute toward child support. It begins by taking the parties' combined net income and then delineates a basic amount that the parties shall pay for one to six children. The guidelines address situations where the parties make anywhere between 0 and $30,000 per month. However, what happens when the parties make greater than $30,000 per month between them?