How Long Does Child Support Last in Pennsylvania?

The parents of a child both have a financial obligation to support their children, without regard to their relationship with the child. This means that if one parent chooses not to spend time with their child, this does not release them from the obligation to pay child support unless they terminate their parental rights

With that being said, the noncustodial parent of a child will often wonder how long they will be required to pay child support and what their obligations will be once their child becomes an adult. Read on to learn more about how long you have to pay child support for minors and what happens once your child becomes of legal age in Pennsylvania. 

Paying Child Support for Kids under 18

Both parents of children who are under the age of 18 are legally required to support their children financially. More often than not, the noncustodial parent, or the parent with whom the children do not primarily reside, will be the one to pay child support to the parent with child custody

The amount of child support will vary based on a number of contributing factors, including the income and expenses of both parents, which parent is paying for healthcare, and more. Parents paying child support will then be compelled to do so until their child reaches the age of 18 or until they graduate from high school, whichever occurs later. 

If you child turns 18 during their senior year of high school, for example, you would be obligated to pay child support throughout their senior year until graduation day. 

But if your child does not turn 18 until after graduation, your obligation to provide for your child financially ends the day of their graduation from high school. 

In cases where a child has dropped out of high school, you will be responsible for them until they reach the age of 18.  

Financial Obligations into Adulthood

For most families, child support payments will end when a child reaches 18 or graduates, but if the child in question is disabled and unable to care for themselves or earn a living, then the financial obligation to support the child may not end at that point. It is not uncommon for child support orders to be reevaluated at some point before the child turns 18.  

In some cases, if your child is going to be living in an assisted living facility, you may be paying the facility directly as opposed to paying your child’s other parent. If you have a child who has a disability and have questions about how much child support you should be paying and for how long, you will need to speak with your Pennsylvania lawyer.

Meet with a PA Child Support Lawyer

If you have additional questions about how long you should expect to pay child support, or for assistance in obtaining a child support order, contact a highly trained Pennsylvania child support lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. 

You can submit the brief contact form we have provided below or call our office at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529) when you are ready to schedule your case review. 

Changing a Child Support Order in PA

When the parents of a child or children are not parenting together, each parent is typically going to be financially responsible for their children, even in cases where one parent has no desire to maintain a relationship with their children. 

With that being said, once a child support order has been implemented, making modifications is not a simple process. In order to modify your current child support order, you will need to  explain to a Pennsylvania judge why you are seeking these proposed changes and why these modifications are going to be in the best interests of your children. 

Continue reading to learn more about child support, the best interests of your children, and how to obtain a child support modification in PA.

What Is in the Best Interests of Your Children?

The question of what is in the best interests of your children is the primary deciding factor in any type of child custody, child support, or child visitation case. Sometimes, making modifications to your current child support order, perhaps by increasing or decreasing the amount to be paid, for example, is in your child’s best interests. 

Common reasons for seeking such modifications include the loss of a job, an increase in wages for either parent, the addition of siblings, a serious medical diagnosis (and therefore healthcare costs), and other unexpected financial gains or hardships. 

Many parents are under the impression that they will be struggling financially when paying child support, and while for some this may be the case, the courts have no intention of making it impossible to continue covering necessary living expenses for your kids. 

The judge presiding over your Pennsylvania case will take a careful look at both parents’ incomes, expenses, and financial affairs before making a determination regarding what a fair and reasonable child support order should be.

How to Modify an Existing Child Support Order

If you are interested in making modifications to an existing child support order, you will need to file a petition to do so with the Pennsylvania courts. If you and your child’s other parent are able to come to an agreement about any proposed modifications or can come to one in mediation proceedings, your request can be signed off on by the judge and made binding. 

However, if you and your child’s other parent do not agree or cannot come to an agreement on proposed modifications, then your case will need to be heard by the judge. We will need to be prepared to prove to the judge that these modifications are, in fact, in the best interests of your children. If that can be done, then the judge will grant your request and enact a new child support order.

Contact a Pennsylvania Child Support Attorney

If you have an existing child support order that needs to be modified, or if you need assistance obtaining a child support order, reach out to an experienced Pennsylvania child support lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. You can give a family lawyer at our office a call at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529) or fill out the provided contact form at the bottom of this page when you are ready to schedule your consultation.

How to File for Divorce in PA

Most relationships end long before one or both partners makes the decision to officially end their marriage, but when you are finally ready to take charge of your life, there are many details surrounding your Pennsylvania divorce that may catch you by surprise. 

Below, we go into greater detail about what the grounds for pursuing a divorce are in PA, how to file, and the details that will need to be reviewed before your divorce can be finalized. 

Grounds for Divorce in Pennsylvania

As you are preparing to file your PA divorce petition, you will need to consider what your grounds for divorce will be. Pursuing a fault divorce would mean that you are claiming that your spouse has done something to cause your marriage to irretrievably break down. Adultery and incarceration are common reasons to seek a fault-based divorce. 

However, fault divorces are typically more expensive and take longer to finalize, which is why many individuals in Pennsylvania will seek no-fault divorces. In a no-fault divorce, neither party is considered to blame for the end of the marriage. 

Once you have made your decision, your attorney can actually file your PA divorce petition on your behalf so you can officially begin to move through the divorce process and on to the next phase of your life.

The Details of Your Divorce Settlement

There is much more that goes into a divorce than simply filing a divorce petition. You will need to work with your spouse to divide your marital property and debts, in a process known as equitable distribution. This process is rarely easy, as many spouses are unable to work together to determine who retains which valuables and assets. 

It is important to note that any property, assets, and debts that have been brought into the marriage are not marital property, and should therefore remain with the spouse who brought them into the marriage. 

In addition to the division of your property and assets, financial support may be brought up in your divorce case if one spouse earned more than the other or if one spouse was financially dependent on the other. Alimony is not a right or guarantee in PA divorces, but when it is awarded, it can be temporary, for the duration of the divorce proceedings, or even permanent, in certain instances. 

If you need help seeking support or want to be sure you are not taken advantage of by a greedy spouse, consider enlisting the services of an accomplished Pennsylvania divorce attorney. We can also help with calculating Pennsylvania spousal supoort.

Reach Out to a Highly Trained PA Divorce Attorney

Whether you and your soon-to-be former spouse have chosen to divorce amicably or are at each other’s throats, an aggressive PA divorce lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. can help you protect your rights as you negotiate your divorce settlement. 

To learn more about what the divorce process is going to look like for you, schedule your initial consultation at our office. You can reach us by phone at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529) or through the submission form provided below. 

Can I Date Other People before My Divorce Is Finalized in PA?

When your marriage has ended and you are waiting for your divorce to be finalized, you may be wondering whether you are able to date someone new while waiting to be officially divorced from your soon-to-be ex.

As you can imagine, dating while still married can bring up some complications as your divorce is processed through the court system, so you should speak with your attorney about the individual details of your case before you continue a romantic relationship or begin a new one. Below, we discuss what fault-based divorce is and why dating other people may have an impact on your divorce settlement.

Fault-Based Divorce

When seeking a divorce in Pennsylvania, the grounds for your divorce must be either fault-based or no-fault based. In a no-fault divorce, neither party is blaming the other for the demise of the marriage; it has simply irretrievably broken down.

The majority of individuals seeking a divorce pursue this type of divorce, as it will often be far less complicated and allow your divorce to be finalized much more quickly than a fault divorce.

Fault divorces occur when one spouse has wronged the other in some way, thus causing the marriage to fail. Adultery is one of the most common types of fault divorces, and if you committed adultery, or have begun to date other people before your divorce is finalized, your divorce settlement could be dramatically impacted.

How Dating Could Influence Your Case

Whether you cheated on your spouse and began a relationship with this individual or have only just started dating again, it may be well-advised to wait to continue with your new relationships, as this new romance could be used against you in your divorce, particularly if you are in the middle of a fault-based divorce.

Although the grounds for divorce will not have an impact on your alimony negotiations, except in cases of spousal abuse, it can have a devastating influence on the division of your marital property, debts, and assets.

If you have been using marital funds to wine and dine your new partner, or if marital finances are used in any way to encourage your new relationship, the judge may look poorly on your divorce case.

You are not legally required to remain single while your divorce is being finalized, but doing so can only help your divorce be settled as soon as possible so you can then venture out and date whoever you wish. Your attorney will be able to give you individualized advice about how to proceed after learning more about the details of your impending divorce.

Contact a PA Divorce Lawyer

To learn more about dating while waiting for your divorce to be finalized, or if your spouse has committed adultery and you are interested in pursuing a fault-based divorce on the grounds of adultery, reach out to an experienced PA divorce lawyer at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

You can schedule your initial case review by calling our firm at 1-844-VARI-LAW (827-4529) or filling out the brief contact form provided below.