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Child support: Decisions with long-lasting consequences

Most people don't derive pleasure from their divorces. Especially at first, it can be painful on a lot of fronts -- emotionally trying, socially straining and financially taxing -- but there are ways to control the damage and begin to create the life you want.

If you are a parent in the middle of a divorce, it is important to protect yourself and your money starting NOW, particularly when it comes to child support. Whether you expect to pay or receive support, it is crucial to have proper guidance when making legal agreements about payments; these decisions can affect you for MANY years and have a direct impact on your quality of life.

Support orders are not as arbitrary as they may seem

There is a clearly defined relationship between your custody and support orders. Pennsylvania courts use formulas (related to parenting time, incomes and other factors) to make determinations about support amounts, but there are many variables.

Do not accept a custody order without counsel from your attorney. One of the keys to a fair support order is a fair custody arrangement.   

Yes, you can modify support in some cases, but it may not be easy

In general, it is MUCH easier to make good support arrangements now than to go back later and try to modify an order that you feel is unfair. Many people end up changing support after they have experienced an income loss or another change, but you have to petition a court to do this.

Some payers of child support struggle to make payments from day one, even without an income reduction, because they haven't protected themselves. Again, proper legal guidance is critically important in setting yourself up to win. 

Not getting enough? Paying too much?

Remember, child support is about meeting the needs of your kids. We all want our children to be provided for, and we must also take care of ourselves.

To keep things balanced during the challenges of a divorce, get the counsel you need and deserve. 

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