Claiming Child Support in Berks County
When it comes to claiming child support, many parents feel overwhelmed. The process can feel intimidating, and sometimes threats from the other party add to the fear of moving forward. At Cornerstone Law Firm, our family law attorneys are here to help you navigate the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind in the process of pursuing child support.
First, the duty of support is an absolute duty of both parents. Child support is intended to cover basic expenses of the child or children, including, but not limited to, nutrition, shelter, child-care expenses, and medical expenses. The amount of support is calculated based on the relative income of the parties. The cost of health insurance premiums for the children will be allocated between the parties.
In Pennsylvania, each parent is financial responsible for a portion of the amount listed in the Statewide Child Support Schedule found in Pa.R.C.P 1910.16-3. A family law attorney at Cornerstone Law firm will help you consider whether an upward or downward deviation would be appropriate in your case.
At the initial support conciliation, there are three courses of action available. The parties can 1. Reach an agreement, 2. Accept the PA state guideline amount, or 3. Request a hearing for deviation from the guideline amount. Support Orders are modifiable and should be reviewed every three to four years, or earlier, if time there is a change in employment that affects ones ability to pay support.
The “best interests of the child” are always the key
You’ll hear this phrase throughout the process of both custody and child support, but the Berks County Court of Common Pleas will ultimately seek what is “in the best interests of the child” in making a final determination. The Court is challenged under Pennsylvania law with determining this, and the factors the Court can use in making this decision are broad. It is strongly recommended to have a good attorney help you in navigating this process.
Child support can’t be “waived” by agreement
It is not uncommon to hear from clients that they’ve made an agreement not to pursue child support, sometimes in exchange for something else. Perhaps you agreed to forgo child support if the other party agreed to let you keep a car, or something like that. But these agreements are generally unenforceable under Pennsylvania law.
If you’re seeking child support in Berks County, it is vital to have a good family law attorney on your side. Call Cornerstone Law Firm today to speak with one of our attorneys to learn what your rights are in the custody and child support processes.