Jan 4, 2022
Child Support in Pennsylvania
Divorce and Children
Anyone who has children in the state of Pennsylvania is required to support them. The laws created for child support provide a formula, and extensive rules regarding implementation of the formula and enforcement of the rules. The formula is an income driven calculation. All sources of income for both parties are plugged into the formula, and a guideline figure is the result. The guideline amount is referred to as the Basic Support Obligation or BSO. It is meant to address the basic needs of living, or food, clothing, and shelter. The formula allocates the BSO to the parties based on their percentage contribution toward the total. The result is that the higher income spouse often owes child support to the lesser earning spouse. There are a number of issues that affect the end result, such as custody, housing, and health insurance.
Debbie Y. Schneider, Esq., an Attorney at Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation outlines Basic Support Obligation and the division of additional expenses for child support in PA.
Expenses for the children over and above food, clothing and shelter are meant to be addressed in the same percentages as the child support. For instance, if one spouse is responsible for 75% of the child support and the other spouse is responsible for 25%, then they should share responsibility for the extra-curricular activities at 75/25.
Occasionally, one party is resistant to providing payments to the other party for child support. They suggest that they will “just pay for what the children need.” I strongly discourage this idea. Often the real reason is that they simply don’t want to be required to give money to the spouse they are divorcing. Often, they say that the money won’t be used for the children. This argument has been settled law for a long time. The funds are to support the lesser earning spouse’s household; that person does not have to explain or justify the use of the funds to anyone, ever. The suggested scenario, even under the best circumstances, could create the need for interaction and negotiation about every expense.
At the ALPHA CENTER for DIVORCE MEDIATION, we encourage our clients to set up the child support payments in as efficient a manner as possible; ideally one that eliminates hassles and does not create them.
Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation