How Child Support Can Be Reduced in Pennsylvania
If you are currently paying child support, or you are receiving child support payments, it is vital that you understand how child support is calculated – and how it can change. When you are paying child support, the burden can be very high, and you may want to know how you can reduce payments. Understanding how and when child support can be changed can help you plan for potential dips in child support amounts.
On either side, the Philadelphia child support modification lawyers at Sullivan and Galleshaw may be able to help. Whether you are receiving or paying child support, our attorneys may be able to take your child support case to court and get the payments modified – or fight to keep them from lowering. For a free consultation on your case, call our lawyers today at 215-814-0395.
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Modifying and Reducing Child Support in PA
Child support is not a permanent fixture, in most cases. Finances are fickle, and often shift greatly over the course of one’s life. Because child support obligations are based, in part, on the total income of both parents, child support can fluctuate if you get a new job, lose a job, or face other life changes.
Under the law, child support orders can be modified if there are any “material and substantial changes in circumstance” for either party. This may include any changes to factors that affect how much needs to be paid each month. Looking at the input factors for calculating child support, this means that child support can be modified based on the following, along with other factors:
- A change in income,
- Job loss,
- A change in the number of children you support,
- A change in healthcare costs,
- Substantial hardships, and
- A child turning 18 and graduating from high school.
Child support can be ordered in most cases, even ones of very low monthly income. However, parents are not expected to pay so much child support that they cannot support themselves. Especially if you have multiple children or are expected to pay high child support amounts because the other parent has high income, you may be entitled to a reduction in child support. If your support amount is more than 50% of your monthly income, you could be entitled to have every child support amount you pay reduced to give you more money each month. If you make less than $981 per month, the court will need to use close scrutiny when determining child support amounts. Additionally, if you keep less than $981 per month for yourself, you may be entitled to a reduction to guarantee a minimum “Self-Support Reserve” of $981 per month.
You are also entitled to a reduction in child support based on other things that you pay for. For instance, if your health insurance covers your children, this is a cost that you pay, and may reduce your overall child support burden. Similarly, expenses you typically cover for your children, such as tuition or other recurring costs, could reduce your general child support payments, since you already paid those expenses out of pocket.
Lastly, you may be entitled to a reduction in child support based on the amount of time you spend with your children. Child support assumes that you spend approximately 30% of the year with your children staying with you. In many families, the non-custodial parent may spend 40% or 50% of the year with their children. Every additional day that your children spend with you, rather than the other parent, is another day that your expenses are going straight toward your children, and child support is unnecessary. Because of this, you may be entitled to a direct reduction for spending additional time with your children.
Filing for to Have Child Support Reduced in PA
The only way to reduce child support is with the court’s permission. Unless a judge modifies your support order, paying anything less than the amount the order requires is a violation of the support order. This means that you should never reduce your payments or cancel your payments without court approval. Failing to pay in full could put your in violation of the court order and trigger enforcement against you, such as wage garnishment.
Filing for a modification or cancellation of child support is easy with an attorney at your side. This petition could be filed after a substantial change in your finances, the birth of another child, if a stepchild moves in with you, or if your child becomes an adult and graduates high school (meaning they no longer need support). A change can also come from an agreement with the other parent. Not every child support case is one of animosity or disagreement, and working with an attorney may make coming to an agreement for reduced child support a possibility.
Philadelphia Child Support Lawyers
The Philadelphia family law attorneys at The Sadek and Cooper Law Offices may be able to help you examine your financial status, find grounds to reduce child support, and file for a reduction in your child support order. For a free consultation on your child support case, call our lawyers today at 215-814-0395.