An Almost Shakespearean Ode to Pennsylvania Child Support
O child support, child support, wherefore art thou child support? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Similar to Romeo, you cannot deny your parentage at the hands of a major life obstacle. Romeo wanted to deny his father and change his last name to be with Juliet, and you may want to deny your children and/or lie about your wages so that you don’t have to pay child support. Sorry to break it to you, Romeo (or Romea, if you’re a lady), that’s not how Pennsylvania Child Support works. But, for the sake of this article, let’s say you are already paying or receiving child support and you’re wondering how to modify the amount.
The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines provide that modification can occur when a party can show a “material and substantial change” in economic circumstances. This change requires that either party’s financial situation has increased or decreased since the date of the existing support order. For a decrease to qualify for lowering a child support payment, however, the paying parent’s income must have been lowered involuntary – meaning, if the paying parent purposefully quit or elected to take a lower paying job to decrease the amount of his or her child support payments, then the paying parent’s payments will NOT be decreased. The court will use the paying parent’s earning capacity in order to determine the appropriate income amount, and then make a monthly child support payment amount based on that.
It’s important (and required) to keep both parties in the know about the other’s financial situation. Anytime a party loses a job or gets a new job, that party should notify the other party of the financial change. In addition, don’t make the mistake of verbally agreeing to modify the Pennsylvania Child Support order. This agreement is more than likely invalid, and can even create problems for you down the road. Ultimately, any person who is court ordered to pay ANY amount of child support is never relieved from that responsibility until further order of court indicates that relief.
We understand that child support can be confusing and frustrating. Let us take some pressure off of you – just relax while we do the hard work. Give us a call today and we can discuss your legal options and the history and evolution of Shakespeare’s masterpieces. Macbeth, anyone?
… okay… we really don’t know much about Shakespeare, so we probably won’t talk about that.
*Our office accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County (Greensburg).
Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning), Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Somerset County, and Venango County.*