One of the most long-lasting financial effects of a divorce is often the child support order. Pennsylvania state law provides clear instructions for the custodial and noncustodial parent in terms of child support payments. In most cases, child support orders last until the child is 18. However, the state may require payments to continue if the child has mental or physical conditions that require additional support. While there are state guidelines that help a court determine child support amounts, it is possible to modify the payments in certain circumstances.
According to FindLaw, Pennsylvania courts may calculate child support based on factors including both parents’ monthly income, child care expenses, extracurricular activities and medical costs. The child’s living arrangements and any relevant Social Security benefits may also affect the calculation of child support payments. In cases where the child is not in either parent’s custody, both parents may have to make child support payments.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services states that every three years, the government’s Domestic Relations Section should contact each parent to ask if he or she wants an official review of the child support order. Additionally, either parent may file a petition with the court to request a review and/or modification of the child support order. In most cases, there must be a change in circumstances in order to modify the amount of child support.
A significant change in income for either parent may facilitate modification of the child support order. If the child has new medical expenses or changes in health insurance, child support orders may change. When the child graduates from high school and turns 18, the child support agreement may cease. Changes in the parents’ living situations, such as moving in together, may also affect the child support agreement. Either parent may contact the DRS to petition for a modification of child support if he or she feels it is in the child’s best interest.