If you and your spouse have children, child support is likely one of your major concerns about your upcoming divorce.
If you expect to have the children more of the time than your ex, you might want to know how much child support you can expect to receive. If you have a demanding job and can’t provide a lot of parenting time, then you might be the one paying child support.
Understanding what determines how much child support you pay can help you better plan for your life during and after you’re divorced. How does Pennsylvania establish child support amounts?
The division of parenting time
One of the most influential factors in how much child support someone pays is how much parenting time they spend with the kids or have responsibility for them.
When one parent has substantially more parental responsibility, the parent with less parenting time will typically have to make child support payments to them. However, the division of parenting time is not the only issue that factors into child support.
The income of both parents
Even when parents attempt to equally share parental responsibilities, the courts may still order one to pay child support to the other. If one parent makes more money than the other, the higher-earning parent will typically have to make some contributions to the other household in the form of child support.
The number of children and their needs
The more children you have, the more child support you will have to pay. Bigger families are much more expensive to house and feed than a single child. Each child also requires a different amount of support.
Many children just need a standard level of financial support to cover their school costs and child care expenses. However, some children, such as those with special needs, may cost much more to care for properly. Child care, health care and even schooling costs can be higher for some children than for others. If the courts see evidence that the children have exceptional financial needs, that can also factor into the amount of child support that the state ultimately orders.
When situations in the family change, the child support order may change as well. Otherwise, the state should review the support order every four years and update it according to new family circumstances. Understanding the rules that determine child support obligations makes preparing for divorce easier.