Pennsylvania Child Support Law

Child support obligations arise whether or not the parents of a child are separated or divorced. Usually, it's the primary custodial parent who files for support from the other parent, but as of September 1, 2011, either party may institute an action for a support obligation to be determined.

As you might imagine, the Pennsylvania child support laws are complex. In Pennsylvania, a statewide support guideline grid was created to try to ensure that in determining child support obligations, courts will treat people with similar incomes and obligations in a similar manner.

Under Pennsylvania support law, unless the parties reach their own support settlement agreement, the court must determine the reasonable needs of the child or children and the relative abilities of the parents to provide financial support based on their net incomes and earning capacities. Unfortunately, in contested cases, not all parents are honest in providing their earnings or financial information for the support guideline to be correctly applied such that your lawyer may need to employ certain techniques to unearth the correct information.

Every four years, the support guidelines are to be reviewed and changed if warranted. One change made in the 2010 review is that different rules apply when the parties combined net income exceeds $30,000.

Failure to Pay Support

The penalties for not complying with a Pennsylvania court support order are significant and include the following:

    • You may be held in Civil Contempt of Court
    • You may be sentenced to jail or fined
    • Your bank accounts may be seized
    • Your wages may be garnished such that your employer would be required to
      send a portion of your pay directly to the Court
    • Your Personal Injury or Workers Compensation awards may be seized
    • Your Federal and State Tax Refunds may be seized
    • Your Driver's, Professional, Occupational, and/or Recreational Licenses
      (Hunting & Fishing) may be suspended
    • You may be denied a passport
    • Your real estate holdings may have liens imposed against them
    • Your Lottery Winnings could be intercepted
    • You may be reported to the Credit Bureaus
    • You may have your name published in the newspaper as a delinquent parent

Given the stakes involved for children and for a parent with a court order to pay child support, it is clearly of great importance to be represented by a dedicated and experienced Pennsylvania child support lawyer as early as possible in the child support calculation process, preferably before a Court Order is imposed.

Modification of a Support Order

It is important to understand that either party may return to court at any time to seek modification of a support order if financial or child custody circumstances change. To warrant a change in the support order, the court looks to "substantial change in circumstances". Obviously, you should seek a support modification by the court as soon as possible when a change occurs.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of a dedicated, experienced Pennsylvania family lawyer to be by your side in matters of Pennsylvania child support, call the Law Office of Mary Beth Reinecker at: (267) 702-3188 for a free initial consultation. You may also contact Attorney Mary Beth Reinecker using the contact form provided on this website.

*Evening and weekend hours are offered to accommodate your schedule as well her newest service, video conferencing from the comfort of your home or office!

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