Child support can significantly affect the lifestyle and financial health of divorced parents and their children. Child support is money paid by a non-custodial parent to provide for their child’s necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, education, and extracurricular activities. Both the paying parent and the non-paying parent’s lifestyles and that of their children can be significantly impacted by child support arrangements.
Attorneys at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. have been providing counsel and representation to clients since 1945. The child custody lawyers at the firm understand the impact that child support payments have on the adults and children involved, and they work diligently to ensure that their clients’ legal rights are protected and children’s needs are met.
Establishing Child Support Payments
Pennsylvania and New Jersey determine child support by following a specific formula. The calculations are based on what the cost of raising the child would have been had the divorce not occurred. These calculations are the same for children born within the marital union, as well as those born outside of the marriage.
Each parent’s income is carefully considered, along with the number of children each parent claims as dependents. The costs for medical, educational, and caretaking needs for each child, as well as the costs for basic shelter and food are factored into the formula as well. Attention is also given to the lifestyle provided to the child before the divorce or separation occurred.
The goal of the court is to establish an amount of support necessary to continue the lifestyle and standard of living children were accustomed to prior to the divorce.
The basic needs of each child include:
- Shelter at both parent’s residences
- Health insurance and medical expenses
- Dental, vision, and orthodontic needs
- Sports and extracurricular activities
- Travel expenses related to visitation and custody
- Educational expenses, including elementary, intermediate, secondary, and college tuitions and supplies
- Miscellaneous expenses
Modifications to Child Support Payments
Life happens, and even the most well-structured child support plans face situations that necessitate modifications. It is not always easy to modify an existing child support arrangement, but it can be done. The circumstances surrounding the change must be substantial enough to warrant a request for an increase by the non-paying parent, or a decrease by the paying parent.
When the custodial parent faces a challenge that requires an increase in expenses, it may be possible to obtain an increase in child support payments. Parents can agree to a temporary or permanent increase in payments on their own, or either parent can petition the court to intervene. It is wise to always contact an experienced child support lawyer when modifications to child support arrangements are necessary.
If the custodial parent is in a temporary financial crisis, such as a job loss or unexpected home repair, the modifications are less complicated than if a permanent change in payments is necessary. Disability, illness, or recovery from a serious accident may require long-term modification.
Modifications can also be requested by the paying parent. Job loss, illness, remarriage that includes more children to support than there were when the initial arrangements were made, or unforeseen expenses that place a financial burden on the paying parent or their family may be valid reasons to request a modification.
If the financial situation of a custodial parent change significantly, the paying parent may request modification. In most cases, the court will need to hear the reasons for the request and make a decision to decrease the amount of child support being paid.
Seeking Counsel for Child Support Arrangements
Parents in the process of establishing child support arrangements should always rely on the counsel and representation of a qualified and skilled child support lawyer. The stakes are high for both parents in this situation.
Too little support from the paying parent can leave the custodial parent struggling to provide for the basic needs of the children. Too much money required from the paying parent could leave them and their new family in a financial crisis.
The laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are designed to keep the best interests of the child as a priority in all child support arrangements. However, the courts also strive to protect the legal obligations of each parent. An experienced Philadelphia child support lawyer at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can make sure that your children are well provided for, and that each parent is justly contributing to their care.
Philadelphia Child Support Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Provide Counsel and Representation to Divorcing Parents
If you or someone you know is considering divorce where children are involved, call the Philadelphia child support lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. at 888-999-1962, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and North Carolina.