Parents who go through a divorce will likely have to address the matter of child support. In Pennsylvania, these payments go through a centralized system unless both parties agree to handle the matter privately. Some cases go through the Domestic Relations Office via an Application for Child Support.
When the court is asked to determine how much support a parent should pay, it looks at two primary factors. The first is what the paying parent can reasonably afford. The second is how much support the child needs. From there, it will use a special formula to determine what each payment will be.
Most child support payments continue until the child turns 18. If a child has special needs, it is possible for the order to continue past that age. Pennsylvania child support laws cover more than just the regularly occurring payments from one parent to the other.
The law also sets the standard for who will carry health insurance on the children. Basic education expenses, child care costs, extraordinary medical expenses and extracurricular activity costs may also be included in the order.
If there are any shared expenses in the order, the terms for settling those must be present. This might be that everything is added up at the end of the month and whichever parent paid more of these will be repaid the difference by the other parent.
The more detailed the child support order, the less of a chance it will be misconstrued. The goal of this is to ensure that your child has everything they need without one parent having to cover all the costs. If there are ever any issues with child support, you can use the order to enforce the terms.