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Reasons for modifying a child support order

When Pennsylvania parents are no longer in a relationship, they might come to an agreement with each other or through the courts about child support. An order for child support establishes the amount of financial support that children will receive when parents are separated or divorced. The amount is usually based on the assumption that children should receive the same amount of support from each parent as they would if their parents were still together.

When can a parent stop child support payments?

Family law states that parents who pay child support should continue to do so until the child is 18 or emancipated. However, in some situations, parents might be responsible for providing financial assistance even after their child turns 18. These situations include:

  • When children turn 18 but are still in high school
  • When children are over 18 but have emotional or physical special needs
  • When a parent owes back child support, which must be paid in full, even after the child turns 18

Modifying a child support order

Once a child turns 18, a parent might choose to file a petition to modify or terminate their support payments. There are other reasons why a parent might choose to ask for a modification of a child support order, including when:

  • Changes in the custody agreement occur
  • Parents negotiate a new support agreement
  • A child under 18 wins emancipation
  • Childcare or medical care costs increase
  • Either parent has experienced a significant change in income or assets
  • The state issues new guidelines that might affect the support amount

Modifying a child support order should always be done by filing a petition in the correct court. To protect their interests, a parent might choose to consult a family law attorney to assist them in filing the right documents.