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As of May 12, 2010, there will be some changes made to the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines which could affect both those paying and those receiving child and spousal support
It is not uncommon for a potential client to call me and say: "Why do I have to pay support, I don’t even know where my kid is and I have never seen my kid?" Or, a person will say "Why should I let him see his son, he doesn’t even pay support and never has." Are these valid concerns?
As a child support lawyer, I am frequently asked why the Pennsylvania child support guidelines don’t consider a parent’s expenses. Sometimes paying child support makes a parent "see red" on their checking account statement. Some parents experience budget deficits when they have to add child support to the list of bills they pay each month. And the court doesn’t seem to care. What gives?
When an individual files a complaint for child and/or spousal support in Pennsylvania, including Montgomery County and Bucks County, the court applies the parties’ net monthly incomes to the statewide support guidelines. Support is considered a priority obligation over other expenses of an obligor.
During and after a divorce, some parents face the prospect of returning to court year after year to obtain the support their children deserve. Hiring a lawyer for the constant court appearances becomes expensive. Frequently, the attorney’s fees coupled with the parent’s loss of work time, outweighs any additional child support award.
Each spouse owes support to the other as long as they are legally married. A court may require a spouse to contribute to the support of the other. The amount of support is determined by considering the income of each spouse, their earning capacities, assets and needs.
Pennsylvania grants a no-fault divorce when both spouses agree to divorce and file an affidavit that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court may grant a divorce 90 days after filing. If one spouse files an affidavit that the couple has lived apart for at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may grant a divorce based on those circumstances.
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