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Important questions about child support in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania family laws offer strict guidelines that require the noncustodial parent -- i.e., the parent with whom the children do not live -- to pay child support to the custodial parent. This financial support is intended to assist the custodial parent to pay for housing, food, entertainment and other costs associated with raising and caring for the children.

If you're like most parents, you might have the following questions about child support:

Do both parents ever need to pay child support? Even when parents don't have jobs, they may still be required to pay child support. Also, in some situations, both of the parents may need to pay child support.

What expenses does child support cover? Expenses covered by child support could include clothing, food, shelter, education, child care, entertainment, medical care, travel costs and extracurricular activities.

How long will child support last? At a minimum, child support will usually continue until the child is approximately 18 years of age. In some cases, a spouse will need to continue paying child support longer.

Can I modify my child support orders? Sometimes the paying spouse may have a significant change in circumstances that affects his or ability to make child support payments. Other times, the receiving spouse or the child might experience a change in circumstances that affects how much child support is needed. When this happens, a parent can submit a request to modify the child support orders.

If you have more questions about child support, you might want to discuss your situation in detail with a qualified legal counselor who can advise you of your legal rights.

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