Pennsylvania Child Custody & Pennsylvania Child Support

Family courts will generally look to the best interests of the child or children when evaluating custody, visitation and support issues, and Pennsylvania courts are no exception. Pennsylvania courts prefer that parents come to an agreement on these issues, but will step in if parents cannot agree on a plan. Following are the laws governing Pennsylvania child custody and support.

Pennsylvania Child Custody:

Pennsylvania courts will do everything possible to lessen the emotional impact on children of divorcing parents. If the parents cannot agree on a plan for custody, the courts will decide what is best for the children and will give importance to the willingness of the parents to encourage a relationship between a child or children and the other parent and any history of violence or abusive conduct on the part of any parent.

Pennsylvania Child Support:

Child support in Pennsylvania is determined in accordance with the Income Shares Model for child support, where each parent's income is considered in relative proportion. The support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain the correct proportion and provide for the needs of the child.

These guidelines are not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a standard other than the Income Shares Model will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.

The factors that can be considered here are numerous, and include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Pre-dissolution or pre-separation standard of living that the child enjoyed
  2. Monetary support provided for other family members
  3. Debts arising during the marriage for the child's benefit
  4. Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child's benefit
  5. Court-ordered payments for health care and education for the child's benefit
  6. Children's independent financial resources, if any
  7. Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those things

See Pennsylvania Divorce Laws and Resources for child support enforcement resources.

A lawyer can help you sort through your rights and responsibilities when it comes to childrearing after a divorce, and serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement. You can find a lawyer at:

Pennsylvania Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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