Both parents have the responsibility to support their children. This obligation exists even if the parents were never married, and it continues after the parents are separated or divorced. The following are some basic facts on Child Support.

Child Support – Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Support. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has created guidelines for child support. The newest version of the guidelines took effect January 31, 2006. The court uses the guidelines when the family’s combined net monthly income does not exceed $20,000 per month. The support amount increases when there is more than one child.

Net monthly income means gross pay, minus federal, state and local taxes, Social Security, Medicare and mandatory union dues. The guidelines do not allow deductions for pension plan or 401(k) contributions, vacation club, credit union payments or charities. The net incomes for both parents are combined and the total amount is used to determine the child support obligation. The non-custodial parent will pay child support based on his or her percentage of the total combined monthly income of the parents.

Health Insurance, Medical and Dental Expenses and Day Care. The guidelines require one parent to provide health insurance for the children, if it is available. The guidelines also require the parents to share the unreimbursed medical and dental expenses of the children and the child care expenses if the custodial parent works outside the home. The guidelines require the custodial parent to pay the first $250 per child per year in unreimbursed medical expenses. The balance of these costs is usually pro-rated according to the incomes of each party.

Wage Attachment. Once the court has entered the support order, the wages of the party owing support are “attached”. Unless the parent paying support is self-employed or the parties agree otherwise, the employer will automatically deduct the support amount from the paycheck.

Click here to read about child support procedure in the Chester County Family Court
The Pennsylvania Bar Association offers a free consumer education pamphlet called “A Guide to Child Support in Pennsylvania”. You may request a copy by calling the PBA at (800) 932-031, ext. 253. You may also visit the PBA website at www.pabar.org.

You can learn more about the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines on the website for Pennsylvania’s Child Support and Enforcement System, at www.childsupport.state.pa.us.