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Q. How is child support calculated?

A. You can go to the Pennsylvania Child Support website to get an estimation of the child support obligation.  However, much more goes into a calculation than what is provided in the estimate.  The calculator also does not provide an estimation for spousal support.   You should consult with an attorney to obtain a more comprehensive calculation that includes spousal support.

Q. How long do I have to pay child support?

A. Under Pennsylvania law, child support must be paid until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever date is later.  However, if the child has physical or emotional challenges, a parent may be ordered to continue paying support.

Q. If I lose my job, will my child support obligation automatically terminate?

A. No.  If you are fired or are laid off from your job, you should consult with an attorney regarding requesting a modification of the support obligation.  An attorney can also advise you as to potential earning capacity arguments that the opposing side may make.

Q. What do I do if the other party is not paying the support obligation?

A. If there is a support order in place and the paying party is not paying support, a contempt action may be commenced by the party receiving support or by the Domestic Relations Office.

Q. I receive bonuses and overtime. Will that be included in my income for calculating support?

A. Usually yes. Even though bonuses and overtime are not guaranteed, the court may assume that you will continue to receive them until you prove that they are no longer available to you, or that you are no longer regularly receiving them.  In fact, there are very few exceptions to what is excluded as income for purposes of support calculations.  

Legal disclaimer: The information provided in these FAQs is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for personal legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Further, legal advice cannot be given without full consideration of all relevant information relating to an individual’s specific situation. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied.

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