Providing for your children and ensuring they can thrive is a priority for any parent. Unfortunately, changing circumstances may affect your ability to provide for their necessities by yourself following a divorce. If your ex violates child support orders, withholds payments or doesn’t meet other legal criteria, you may have options for recourse under the law.
Child support based on shared custody
According to the Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin, the legislature updated the child support schedule in 2021. It now assumes that children spend at least 30% of their time with the person paying child support. If your children see your ex less often or not at all, you may petition for a modification of your child support order to receive additional payment.
If you and your ex were not married at the time of your children’s birth, you must establish that he is the biological father before you can petition for child support. If your ex is listed as the father on your child’s birth certificate, then no further action is needed. If not, a legal DNA test may be necessary to prove paternity. At-home test kits do not have the environment and chain of custody that the court requires for resolving paternity issues.
The court enforces a child support order the same way it does other judgments. If your ex is behind in payments, a judge can sign orders that garnish wages and intercept tax refunds. Also, if your circumstances have changed since the original agreement, you can go back to court and request a modification.
Increased or decreased income is the most common reason for a child support modification, but not the only one. This change can be short-term or permanent, and it does not matter if you and your ex were married. If your children’s needs have changed – such as they need braces, equipment for school programs or require medical care – you may seek additional support. Understanding your options is critical for ensuring you can provide the care your children need, no matter the circumstances.