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Pennsylvania divorce: A few things to know about child support

Ending one's marriage is not necessarily easy. There is a lot that needs to be figured out during the divorce process. For example, divorcing couples in Pennsylvania who have children will need to address child custody and support issues -- both of which are often contentious topics.

When it comes to child support in particular, there are a few things every parent should know before agreeing to anything. First, child support payments are not taxable or tax deductible. This means that the receiving party does not have pay taxes on any child support sent his or her way, and the paying party cannot seek a tax deduction simply for meeting his or her financial obligation to his or her children.

Second, a child support order is not set in stone. While these orders are not necessarily easy to adjust, modifications are allowed under the right circumstances. At the end of the day, a support order comes down to parental income and the needs of the affected children. If either of those changes, a support order can also be changed.

Finally, third, child support trumps spousal support. A child support order will grant what the court determines is appropriate for the children to have their needs met. The receiving party may also be granted spousal support. If, eventually, a child support order is modified, spousal support will likely be as well.

The state of Pennsylvania, like most other states, has a specific formula the courts use to calculate a base child support amount. It is possible to request more or less than the base amount if income warrants the change and there is sufficient cause for it. Parents may come to support terms on their own when working through the divorce process, or they may need a judge to weigh in on the matter. Regardless, court approval is needed before an official support order will be issued.

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