West Chester, PA 19380
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Lee Ciccarelli is the founder and managing partner of Ciccarelli Law Offices with over two decades experience as a practicing attorney.
These locations are available by appointment only
It's very expensive to raise a child. Under Pennsylvania law, all parents are responsible for the burden of raising their children. This means that some parents may be required, under court order, to make monthly payments to compensate another parent for the expenses of raising a child.
To determine the amount awarded in payments, courts look at the parent's income. This is often a contentious issue, and parents both seeking financial assistance and from whom it is sought are advised to review their legal options carefully.
Ciccarelli Law Offices can help you protect your best interests and that of your family. We help parents who need support from an ex-wife or ex-husband, parents who want to ensure their payments made are fair, parents who need child support modification, and other related matters. Our team approach means that you get the combined experience of multiple qualified family law attorneys who are also courtroom veterans.
Call us today at (877) 529-2422 or send an online message to set up a free consultation and discuss your ideal child support arrangement. We are located conveniently in West Chester PA with additional meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Radnor, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, and King of Prussia.
We are proud to represent clients across Southeastern Pennsylvania and around Philadelphia, including in Chester County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County and Delaware County.
All parents are liable, or responsible, for the support of their unemancipated children under the age of 18 in Pennsylvania. Once children turn 18, their parents may be responsible for expenses, like college or other postsecondary education, if it does not pose an undue hardship on the parent, is not for a graduate program and does not extend beyond the child's 23rd birthday.
Paternity can be an issue for child support cases. When a child is born out of wedlock and the paternity is disputed, one of the parties can bring an action claiming paternity. Evidence such as payment of bills, childbirth and postnatal care and genetic tests are admissible. A genetic test that produces a 99 percent or greater likelihood that a man is the father creates a presumption of fatherhood that can only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.
To decide how much a parent must pay, the court must determine that person's income. Pennsylvania courts use factors laid out in the Pennsylvania Statutes Title 23, § 4302. A person's income includes not only the actual paychecks that person receives but also the following, among other situations where money is received:
When the court takes into account all of the income and subtracts federal, commonwealth and local taxes, union dues, non-voluntary retirement payments, FICA payments and alimony payments that are paid to the other parent of the child. This results in the net income and Pennsylvania courts look to the monthly net income of all parties involved.
Income can be one of the most contentious issues in child support cases, particularly if one or more of the involved parents are self-employed. Sometimes, a self-employed parent in a custody case may attempt to take deductions that are actually personal expenses, or, on the other hand, a parent attempting to make a child support claim on a self-employed person will inappropriately challenge deductions. On such difficult and complicated issues, it's to your advantage to have an experienced child support lawyer in Chester County at your side.
Although most parents comply with support orders, some might resist. They may feel like they don't owe the amount they have been ordered to pay, or they could be having trouble making payments and choose to avoid the issue instead of try to work something out. If a parent's living situation changes dramatically, he or she can seek a modification in his or her support order. Simply not paying, however, is unacceptable for you and under Pennsylvania law.
Willfully not paying is a crime, a misdemeanor of the third degree. Since the support order comes from the judge, refusing to comply could also be charged with contempt, and face up to six months in jail, a fine up to $1,000 and probation of up to a year.
Another option, however, is to garnish the offending parent's income. If the parent is a month or more behind on payments, the parent being paid can seek to have the payment taken directly out of the offending parent's paycheck. The court may decide to do this on its own if it feels like the parent will not meet his or her obligations.
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our team of experienced family attorneys can help you with your case, even if you are seeking modification of child support in Chester County. We represent clients throughout West Chester, Downingtown, Phoenixville, Villanova, Norristown, Media, Swarthmore, Radnor, Berwyn, Greater Philadelphia, and nearby communities. Call us today at (877) 529-2422 or send an online message for a free consultation.