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Lehighton Estate, Family & Workers’ Comp Lawyer > Blog > Child Support > How Does Pennsylvania Calculate Child Support?

How Does Pennsylvania Calculate Child Support?


Even when parents are not involved in an intact relationship, they both have rights and responsibilities regarding minor children. One of the most important is the child support obligation, which is subject to very specific calculations that vary among all US states. The Pennsylvania child support statute provides a formula for determining the amount, and it is used for divorces, paternity cases, and any other family law matter involving minor children.

While child support laws are unique to each US state, they generally establish formulas based upon one of three different methodologies. In Pennsylvania, the approach to child support is the income shares method. A Lehighton child support attorney can explain more about how the rules would work in your situation, as well as options for agreements on support. Plus, you can benefit from reviewing some background on how Pennsylvania calculates child support.

 Overview of Income Shares Model: Pennsylvania is one of 41 states that follow the basic income shares calculation for child support. The fundamental concept is that the child is entitled to receive the same percentage of each parent’s income as if the parents lived under the same roof.

Generally, this means the parents’ incomes are combined and spent to support the household. The amount of the obligation is proportional to each parent’s monthly net income, and the residential parent will usually be the one receiving child support.

Steps for Calculating Child Support in Pennsylvania: To understand how the income shares model works, a walk through the formula is helpful.

  1. Start with each parent’s monthly net income, which includes deductions for certain expenses.
  2. Add the parents’ incomes to determine the combined monthly net income.
  3. Evaluate each parent’s percentage of the combined income, based upon parenting time.
  4. Determine the shared and individual basic child support obligation, a figure set by Pennsylvania child support regulations.
  5. Make adjustments for certain expenses, such as costs of child care, education expenses, and health insurance.

By going through these steps, you can get a general idea of the amount the payor will pay. The details will vary according to the facts of your case.

Other Models for Determining Child Support: If you relocate to another state, it is important to realize how child support obligations may be subject to different formulas. Another approach to calculating child support is the percentage of income model, which takes into account only the income of the nonresidential parent. Plus, just three US states follow the Melson model, which is loosely based upon the income shares model.

A Carbon County Child Support Lawyer Can Provide Personalized Advice

Though it is useful to review information on how Pennsylvania calculates child support, there are details you should know when faced with these issues in a family law case. For additional facts about child support, please contact the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C. in Lehighton, PA. We can schedule a consultation with a skilled attorney. Our firm serves clients throughout Carbon County, so we are ready to support your needs.



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