In Chester County, the child support procedure is a multi-step process that commences with the filing of a Complaint for support with the Domestic Relations Office. A support conference is held with a Conference Officer at which time a temporary order for child support will be entered. Either party may appeal the determination to a Master, where a full evidentiary hearing is conducted.
Pennsylvania has enacted child support guidelines that are similar to most states’ guidelines in that they consider the incomes or earning capacities of both parents, as well as the reasonable living standards in the community. For support purposes, income includes wages, tips, overtime, commissions, bonuses, unemployment compensation and “under-the-table” payments, among other things. If either party is self-employed, it becomes even more critical and important to retain experienced counsel.
Once calculated, the parties’ income is applied to the support guidelines. However, in many cases, the guidelines amount is not the same as the final support amount. There may be an upward or downward deviation from the guidelines for many reasons, including medical insurance, mortgage payments, whether there are children from another marriage, work-related child care costs or other expenses.
Because Chester County Domestic Relations Officers, Masters and Courts address these types of deviations on a case-by-case basis, it is important that you consult with an experienced Chester County family law attorney prior to attending a support conference or entering into any child support agreement with the other parent.
Additionally, changes to the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines have been proposed and are being reviewed and discussed by the Courts, the Bar Associations and the Legislature. It is very important to consult with a Chester County family lawyer to determine whether these changes are enacted and how they will impact your particular situation.
The attorneys at Valocchi & Fischer are experienced in handling all aspects of Chester County child support cases. We have represented clients in complex child support cases involving high incomes and hidden incomes. And we have represented or counseled many more in situations that do not deal with large incomes – cases in which the amount of the child support order may be even more important.
Call Jeffrey J. Valocchi or Robert Teti at the law offices of Valocchi and Fischer to schedule an appointment. If you are the spouse seeking support, you should act quickly, as the effective date of any support award will typically be the date on which the support Complaint is filed. We offer evening and weekend appointments to accommodate your schedule.
Call Diane at 610.269.0900 to schedule an appointment.