Why Do I Need A Child Support Lawyer in PA?

Child support in Pennsylvania is rarely as cut and dry as one might think. It can become very complicated; particularly if the parent you’re seeking the support from is a reluctant participant in the process. This is why you need a child support attorney, to insure adequate child support is provided.

Pennsylvania provides specific guidelines with regards to what is included in “net income”. Based on the following:

• Wages
• Salaries
• Overtime pay
• Commissions
• Bonuses
• Interest
• Rental income
• Retirement income
• Social Security retirement or disability payments
• Workers’ compensation
• Unemployment compensation
• Income from an interest in a business
• Entitlements to lump sum awards such as lottery winnings

These are pretty straightforward types of income, however, there are other things that maybe considered as well. For instance:

• Unreported income such as “tips” or “under the table” incomes. These types of wages can be difficult to get included without having a child support attorney.
• Assets also can be included. Typically this is associated with high-income situations. This type of “income” inclusion can also be difficult, but certainly should be included.
• Potential earnings are also considered when there is no “net income”. For example if the parents are unemployed, but capable of working. Said parent may be assessed with an earning capacity that is equivalent to what that person could earn given their education, skills and prior employment history.

These are all types of income that are typically difficult for inclusion in the “net income” of the parents, especially without a child support attorney.

In addition to what you might think of as “classic child support” there are other considerations, such as:

• Medical expenses. This often gets ugly and complicated. Who carries the coverage? Who pays the deductibles and co-pays? What if there is no coverage available? All of these considerations are decided upon by the courts. Without a family law attorney in PA, you may be solely responsible for this additional financial burden.
• Birth related expenses can also be included, both for the mother and the child. This is of particular concern for those who are not married and can be complicated when paternity must be established.

In some cases, a child support order may be combined in an order with an amount payable for spousal support, APL, or alimony and may also include provisions regarding payment of the mortgage on a marital home and/or health insurance. If a combined order for child and spousal support, APL, or alimony is entered, there may be significant federal tax consequences if an unallocated order is entered by the court. For this purpose you will want an family law attorney to fight against an unallocated order.