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Detailing Pennsylvania's child support guidelines

Most divorced parents in Reading likely anticipate having to pay some amount of child support each month. That said, those same people would likely agree that they do not want such payments to be viewed as being punitive. Some may believe that child support is a way in which one can get back at his or her ex-spouse by taking as much of his or her money as possible through child support. The truth is, however, the court does not allow that. It only wants to ensure that children have as much as is required to meet their needs. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, $33.7 billion was owed in child support as recently as of 2015. How do court officials come up with the individual payment obligations that go into that number? Here in Pennsylvania, the court reviews a gross couple's gross income, which may include: 

  • Salaries, wages, commissions and bonuses
  • Unemployment compensation and/or Social Security disability benefits
  • Veterans benefits
  • Investment income
  • Rent payments and profits from property dealings

Certain allowable deductions (e.g. living expenses, money required to support new dependents) are then taken from a couple's gross income to determine its disposable monthly income. That amount is then compared to a predetermined fee schedule to come up with a child support obligation amount. For example, per Rule 1910-16-3 of The Pennsylvania Code, a couple with a monthly disposable income of $3500 that has two kids would have an obligation of $1164. 

It is not left solely to one parent to pay this amount. When determining exactly how much is owed, the court also looks at what percentage each side contributed to the household income when a couple was married. Each must then pay that percentage towards the couple's child support obligation

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