There are different guidelines that are followed in determining child support in each state. In Pennsylvania, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent a set amount for each child. The “grid” also takes the incomes of both parents into consideration.
Attorney Peter J. Russo explains that the calculated amount is often flexible according to a number of factors including:
- Special needs of the child
- Cost of child care
- Differences in parental income
- True income in comparison to stated income
Children with special needs may require special medical care or treatments, educational tools, or even special diets. When they do, the amount normally calculated for child support will be inadequate to cover these additional expenses. A family law attorney will help you understand your options for increasing the monthly payments you receive.
Some spouses who own their own businesses or who do freelance work may misrepresent the amount of income they make. If you suspect your ex-spouse is making more money than reported, your divorce lawyer will know what documents to look at to determine if they do, in fact, have more income than they have reported.
It isn’t unusual for the custodial parent to have childcare expenses while they are at work. Today, both parents are expected to have jobs or careers that keep them away from their families. The expense for this care is considered an essential cost for the children that is covered by child support. Although the income of both parents goes into the calculation, at least a portion will probably be included in the non-custodial parent’s payments.
Child Support for the Payer
It is not only the custodial parent who is concerned about their rights for getting child support. When going through a divorce, the parents may not know which parent is going to end up with custody and who will be expected to pay the expenses for child care. Parents are often concerned about the amount of money they will be expected to pay. Some spouses even fight for custody of the children to ensure they don’t end up paying an unfair amount that will place a severe financial burden on them. This is one reason that getting an experienced divorce lawyer who understands the state laws is so important.
The Choice of Mediation
Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that many couples find much less stressful for settling different issues related to their divorce. This is especially true with issues involving children, such as custody and support. Instead of leaving the decision to the judge, the spouses have the option to work out the details according their specific circumstances and find the option that is best for everyone.
The biggest advantage to mediation is that there is less emotional stress on the children. For the spouses, the process is faster, less expensive and less risky. Only when they agree on the terms will the final decision be agreed on. For many, working out a child support settlement with a mediator who knows the laws of the states is a much better way of getting divorced and working out all of the sensitive details.