Child Support Law – How Much Child Support Will You Pay or Receive?

Parents getting a divorce in Pennsylvania often want to know what their child support obligations will be, including how much the monthly amount will be and how much each parent will have to pay. In the article below, our child custody lawyers discuss basic info about child support in Pennsylvania.  

Under Pennsylvania law, child support is typically determined in a schedule, which can be found at 231 Pa. Code Rule 1910.16-3, Support Guidelines. Basic Child Support Schedule.  

This schedule sets forth the basic child support obligation amount, which factors in the number of children and the parents’ combined monthly net income. The amounts provided in the schedule are the total monthly child support amount.  

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Under the guidelines, for a combined monthly net income of $3,000, the monthly child support amount is $704 for 1 child, $1,015 for 2 children, and $1,189 for 3 children.  

Here are the corresponding amounts for higher monthly net income amounts: 

  • $4,000 | $884 | $1,269 | $1,479 
  • $5,000 | $990 | $1,415 | $1,644 
  • $6,000 | $1,071 | $1,523 | $1,761 
  • $7,000 | $1,170 | $1,660 | $1,914 
  • $8,000 | $1,267 | $1,795 | $2,068 

Click the link for an in-depth discussion of the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines by our Bucks County family law attorneys.  

The amounts set forth in the guidelines are not mandatory. Courts can and do deviate from the amounts. However, judges will assume that the amounts in the support guidelines are correct, unless the issue is raised by one of the parties. If there are factors which demonstrate the need for an increased (or decreased) child support amount, it is up to the parents to present supporting evidence.  

Each parent’s share of the monthly child support amount will then be determined using formulas that take into account the following types of factors: 

  • each parent’s monthly net income,  
  • whether a parent pays alimony or spousal support and if so, how much, 
  • the amount of time each parent spends with the child (overnight visits),  
  • health insurance costs, and 
  • other costs such as medical and childcare expenses. 

Changes in a Parent’s Financial Situation 

Life circumstances are sure to change. A parent who experiences a substantial change in circumstances may request a modification of a child support order, whether it’s a parent who lost a job or a parent who received a significant pay decrease due to no fault of their own.  

In addition, the child’s life circumstances may warrant modification of a child support order. A child’s medical or educational needs may change, and as a result, a custodial parent may seek additional child support.  

Failure to Pay Child Support Does Not Prohibit Visits with the Child 

One question that may come up in child support cases is whether a custodial parent can prevent the other parent from having contact due to that parent’s failure to pay child support.  

In Pennsylvania, failing to pay child support is not grounds to prohibit contact between the non-paying parent and the child. The other parent absolutely has the right to seek child support payments and arrearages, but family law courts will not prevent a non-paying parent from having time with a child. The only grounds to prohibit contact between a parent and child is harm to the child’s mental, emotional or physical well-being or safety.  

Bucks County, PA Child Support & Custody Law Firm  

Our Bucks County, PA family law attorneys focus on child custody and support matters. Firm partners Kevin Zlock and Brian Coverdale are highly rated lawyers who focus on cost-effective solutions for clients and their families.