Montgomery County Child Support Lawyers
A Highly Skilled Legal Team for Your Child Support Matter in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia Counties
Pennsylvania uses guidelines to determine the presumptive amount of child support. However, the guidelines permit “deviations” from the presumptive amount of support under certain circumstances and mandates, such as the children’s reasonable needs, in high-income cases. An experienced attorney at Shemtob Draganosky Taylor can offer the guidance you seek in figuring out how these rules apply to your situation.
Pennsylvania’s Child Support Guidelines
The parent who cares for the child most of the time (the custodial parent) typically receives child support payments from the noncustodial parent. In cases of equal custody, the greater earning spouse pays the lesser earning spouse. Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines dictate the amount of support to be paid depending on both parents’ incomes and the number of children they are supporting.
To estimate the support amount based on Pennsylvania's child support guidelines, you will need information on:
- both parents' gross incomes;
- both parents’ tax statuses;
- any spousal support or alimony paid or received;
- childcare expenses;
- medical insurances premiums that cover the child; and
- any union dues or non-voluntary retirement contributions.
For child support purposes, gross income includes salaries, wages, bonuses, and commissions, as well as income from pensions and retirement plans. Income for unemployed parents may include Social Security benefits or workers’ compensation. Income may also include veteran's benefits, interest on investments, and rent from real estate property. A court can also impute income for parents willfully unemployed, attributing to that parent an earning capacity, an amount that the parent could earn, based on their education and employment history.
There are also many other factors that may be included in income calculations, such as certain “perks” that a company may be paying on behalf of the employee spouse. Even a W-2 wage earner may have company benefits. These benefits may be “add-backs” to income. If a company is paying expenses such as cell phone, car payment, car insurance, housing allowance, or entertainment and travel, all are potential add-backs to income, thereby increasing the amount of income available for support. When necessary, our firm uses forensic accountants to determine the most accurate income available for support.
We are skilled in knowing what to look for and what can be added to or subtracted from each party’s net income in support calculations. Our attorneys can determine the actual income or earning capacity to help you estimate the appropriate child support amount. For W-2 wage earners, determining income may be a relatively straightforward process. However, determining income can be a complicated process if the parties are not W-2 wage earners, particularly when one spouse owns a business. In such cases, there may be income that does not appear on a W-2 or on a tax return. Contact our lawyers of Shemtob Draganosky Taylor for a complete income and support analysis.
Deviating from the Guidelines
Following the guideline calculation, the judge can choose to deviate above or below the presumptive amount, depending on the following factors:
- a parent’s unusual needs and fixed obligations;
- a parent’s other support obligations;
- either parent’s household income;
- the child's age;
- the relative assets and liabilities of the parents;
- medical expenses not covered by insurance;
- the parent's or child's standard of living; and
- other factors, including the best interests of the child.
Keep in mind that an order for child support may be modified. If either parent shows a material and substantial change in circumstances, such as obtaining new employment or becoming unemployed, they may petition for the court to modify the child support payments.
At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor, we have the extensive experience necessary to handle your case. There are many overlapping issues to be determined at the time of divorce; child custody arrangements can be a factor in child support, and spousal support or APL is also a factor in determining child support because it is calculated before child support is determined, then added to the payee’s income and deducted from the payor’s income available for child support. We can analyze your situation to determine how you should proceed in your child support matter.