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What Determines Child Support Payments: A Comprehensive Guide

by | May 23, 2023 | Child Support, Family Law, Industry News, Latest News

Calculating how much child support a parent owes is complicated with many moving parts. Understanding who is responsible for collecting support payments and what happens if the parent responsible for paying child support does not fulfill their responsibility are also common questions from both parents.

Fortunately, this guide can help you better understand how child support payments in PA work and what happens if an obligor does not live up to the requirements.

How Are Child Support Payments in PA Calculated?

First, let’s cover terms you might not be familiar with. The obligee is the parent who receives support. The obliger is the parent who pays child support.

Below we cover some factors considered when calculating child support in PA.

  • Custody – The primary custodial parent is the obligee. The more balanced custody is between the parents, the less the amount owed typically will be.
  • Combined monthly income – The court looks at the net monthly income of both parties. A higher monthly income will mean a higher payment amount. (Accommodation can be made for obligors with low incomes.)
  • The number of dependents the obligee supports in the family – More children will increase the amount the obligor owes.
  • Total expenses involving the children – Examples include childcare and medical expenses.

After considering everything, the court uses a set formula. The Pennsylvania Child Support Estimator is offered to help estimate child support payments.

Some special circumstances may impact child support payments and depending on combined monthly incomes, the standard formula may not apply.

Who is Responsible for Collecting Child Support Payments?

The Pennsylvania State Collections and Disbursement Unit is responsible for the entire child support transaction, from collecting payments to distributing them.

Can Missed Child Support Payments Result in Jail Time?

Child support payments are not optional. When you violate a court order like nonpayment of child support, you can be charged with contempt of court.

If an obligor falls behind in payments, several consequences could result in Pennsylvania, including garnished wages, increased income attachment, the Collections, and Disbursement Unit may take lottery winnings, federal income tax refunds, or other personal property, or place liens against property. In addition, suspension of a driver’s license, fishing & hunting licenses or a professional license are also a risk for obligors behind in child support.

If a court hearing determines that an obligor willfully violated their order of support, they may have to pay the attorney fees of the obligee and may face up to six months in jail.

Covering Legal Bases

Have questions about the intricacies of child support payments, custody, or visitation? Schedule a consultation with a trusted and experienced child support attorney at Mette, Evans & Woodside.