During the COVID-19 crisis and beyond
In divorce proceedings, the decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming, all while emotions are running high. No matter the reason you and your spouse separated, you will need to protect your interests – and the interests of your child – moving forward.
Suddenly becoming a single parent inevitably heightens financial worries. Pennsylvania follows child support guidelines that are published in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, your local Domestic Relations Office may be closed to the public, but parents in need of child support and those in need of support modification due to job changes can still file to begin a new child support case or modify an existing support order. You can file online here. Your child support order will be retroactive to the date of filing, not the date of separation. Filing online before the Courts reopen will ensure that you receive retroactive child support during this period.
What courts consider when determining child support
The ending of a marriage creates many unknowns. Uncertainty about how you will financially support your children likely tops your list of concerns. When deciding the amount of child support that a parent will receive, courts consider the monthly net income of both parents. However, the term “net income” can mean more than your salary. Income may also include:
- Business profits
- Disability benefits
- Earned interest
- Insurance settlements
- Lottery winnings
In addition to your monthly income, the amount of time you have custody of your children and the number of children involved can affect a court’s decision. Parents with shared or substantially shared custody arrangements will receive an adjusted amount of child support. Ultimately, the amount awarded should provide your children with a support level similar to that which they would have had if you and your spouse had remained together. Courts want stability for children and will work to determine support orders accordingly.
Do you have questions?
If you have questions about child support, contact an experienced attorney who focuses on family law.