If you’re a parent looking at them for the first time, then you’re likely a bit overwhelmed by Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines. Judges use the guidelines to calculate how much support should be paid.

In general, the factors that affect the amount of child support are the following:

  • Each parent’s net monthly income
  • The number of children to be supported
  • Costs of medical insurance, medical care and daycare for the child
  • The child’s living arrangements, including shelter, food and clothing
  • Educational and extracurricular expenses
  • If applicable, any Social Security benefits the child receives

In Pennsylvania, the child support guidelines are reviewed every four years, and in general, child support must be paid until the child turns 18. However, support may continue beyond age 18 if, at that time, the child is still in high school or if the child has special needs that require continuing support.

Under certain circumstances, child support orders can also be modified, either up or down. For example, if the paying parent — known as the obligor parent in Pennsylvania law — suffers an injury that prevents him or her from working, then a downward modification of child support may be appropriate. Likewise, an upward modification may be appropriate if the obligor parent gets a raise or the costs of caring for the child increase.

If you live in Pennsylvania, then you can file for child support through your local Domestic Relations office, and Bononi & Company has a child support question-and-answer page that may prove helpful.

Any parent with questions about child support in Pennsylvania may also want to speak with a family law attorney.