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Criteria for seeking child support modification in Pennsylvania

When a couple in Pennsylvania shares a child, there is often an agreement or court order that details a support agreement so the child is adequately cared for and all the needs are provided. This can be linked to a child support formula. In some instances, the circumstances regarding the agreement change and either the custodial parent or the supporting parent will seek to have a child support modification. There are certain factors that must be considered when a parent is seeking modifications.

A parent who is seeking to have an order modified can request this be done at any time. Also, the Domestic Relations Sections will contact the parents every three years and ask if a review is necessary. Parents who are part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will automatically have the DRS review the case every three years. This is to determine if the support needs to be increased, decreased, modified or terminated. The best interests of the child are paramount.

The following will be taken into account when the decision is made whether the order should be modified: there is a significant increase or decrease in the income of either parent; the child is accruing medical expenses that are significant or continuous; there are changes to medical insurance and/or changes to child care costs; the child who is being supported turned 18 and has completed high school; the child begins living with the noncustodial parent or a person other than the custodial parent; the noncustodial parent has been incarcerated; and any other changes in circumstances have happened.

Given the importance ofsupport being paid to care for a child and the inevitable life changes that can occur to parents, it is not uncommon for a child support modification to be requested. Those who are considering seeking child support modification should make sure to discuss the matter with a legal professional experienced in all aspects of child support.

Source: humanservices.state.pa.us, "Pennsylvania Child Support Handbook -- Modifying the Support Order," accessed on Dec. 28, 2015

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