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How parents' income is determined for child support

Pennsylvania parents know that making decisions for a child is not always easy. Sometimes, parents do not always agree on how to best care for a child. This is especially true when it comes to divorce. Parents going through a divorce often have to settle difficult matters such as child custody and child support. In many cases, one parent is awarded physical custody of the child and the other parent is ordered to pay child support. Then, the amount owed in monthly payments must be determined.

One of the ways that help courts decide on the amount owed in child support is by looking at the income of the parents. In fact, child support is "income driven," meaning the income of the parents is the chief factor when determining child support. The court will look at the non-custodial parent's gross income when making this determination.

A person's gross income consists of much that may not be initially obvious. Of course, salaries and wages play a large role in a person's gross income. However, there are also smaller assets that can be weighed into a child support decision. This can include annuities, pension income, Social Security benefits, veterans' benefits, trust or estate income and the like. Additionally, any second job income or any gifts or prizes received may also play a role in determining a non-custodial parent's gross income.

There is a lot that goes into child support cases that a parent may not be aware of. These layers of complexities may prove confusing, even overwhelming. Thankfully, attorneys are available to help guide parents through this process. With an attorney, it is often possible to prepare a strong strategy that can help parents successfully navigate the child support process.

Source: FindLaw, "Child support: determining parents' income," accessed on Nov. 23, 2015

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