Under Pennsylvania law, both parents are required to support their child until the child reaches 18 (or longer in some cases), but a parent can seek to modify a child support payment in the months and years following an initial child support award. A Pennsylvania court can modify a child support downwards (or upwards on the request of the receiving parent), but, before doing so, it will want to see a showing of changed circumstances since the initial award justifying that the award be modified downwards or upwards.
What Constitutes Changed Circumstances for a PA Support Modification?
When a court initially sets a child support order, it looks at various factors including:
- The time each parent will be spending with the child
- All income sources of both parents
- The assets of the parties
- The parties’ needs and fixed financial obligations
- The ages of the children and any special financial needs
- Any other relevant factors
In seeking a modification, the requesting party will have to present evidence that one or more of these factors that went into setting the initial award has changed or that a new relevant factor has arisen. Common grounds which could form the basis of a successful petition for modification of a child support payment in Pennsylvania include:
- The paying parent is spending more time taking care of the child, meaning that parent should pay the other parent less
- The receiving parent is earning more money, meaning there is less need for the other parent’s payment
- The paying parent is earning less money than previously and does not have the potential to earn as much money as before
- The child’s needs (educational, medical, etc.) have changed since the initial order
Note that a court may choose to modify an award in the opposite direction from what you are seeking if the other parent presents stronger evidence and arguments in response to your petition.
Going to PA State Court to Seek a Modification
As the cumulative financial consequences of a modified child support award can be enormous over the years, parents who are seeking a modification in child support in Pennsylvania are encouraged to work with an experienced family law attorney who can work with the parent to put together the necessary supporting evidence and legal arguments that will compel a Pennsylvania state court to modify an award either upwards or downwards, or to effectively respond to another parent who is seeking a modification.
Pennsylvania family courts will want to see extensive and comprehensive financial evidence to take action, and will focus on the best needs of the children, and an experienced PA family law attorney can guide you through all the procedural steps and legal strategies to win the outcome that best serves your interests now and into the future.
Get Help With Your PA Child Support Matter Today
At The Martin Law Firm, P.C., our family law team works with men and women across Southeastern Pennsylvania in divorce matters, and we are committed to serving your needs in a compassionate and efficient manner. Call us today for a no-hassle consultation regarding your child support matter.