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Factors to consider in child support calculations

Raising a child in today’s tough economic times can be financially stressful for many parents. Daily expenses add up, not including the costs of extracurricular activities, doctor’s visits and school events. Where a couple living together as a unit can manage their time and budget so that either both are working or one individual’s salary can cover all the expenses, this changes after the couple separates. One parent, often the custodial parent, is left trying to cover most of the child’s expenses.

Parents can approach the court in Pennsylvania to get the other parent to pitch in with the costs of raising the child until he or she is 18. The case begins when an application for child support is submitted with a local Domestic Relations Office, who can help with establishing paternity, locating the other parent, collection and distribution of child support and enforcement of those obligations.

The Supreme Court has set out guidelines for child support, based primarily on the reasonable needs of the child and on the reasonable ability of the parent to pay. Though the formula is complicated, it does include looking at childcare expenses, parent’s income, medical insurance and living arrangements of the child. Child support is automatically reviewed every four years.

There are a number of factors a court can look at and various documents can be provided to prove one’s side of the case. Though everyone wants what is best for their child, it is imperative that child support be an amount that the paying party can actually keep up with, so it can actually be utilized for the child’s benefit. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on how to ensure a child is provided for financially after his or her parents split up.