Child Custody

Regardless of your fight to gain custody of your children, child support will be an issue in your case. You will either be paying it or receiving it. Pennsylvania courts have little discretion in setting the amount of child support to be paid. This is because, as a condition of receiving federal aid, the states are required to follow certain standards in their child support statutes. The law and the courts have constructed formulas in an attempt to eliminate subjectivity.

Modifying Child Support

When the judge in your case determines your original child support obligation, the considerations may be dictated by statute, determined by the circumstances of your case or a combination of factors. These initial considerations may affect how future evaluations of your child support obligation are reviewed.

Pittsburgh Child Support Attorneys

In Pennsylvania, child support is payable until a child reaches eighteen years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. If a child is physically or mentally disabled, child support could be payable for a longer period of time. The amount of child support that is payable in a Pennsylvania child support case is based upon the monthly after-tax incomes or earning capacities of the child's parents.

Once the parents' monthly net incomes are calculated, Pennsylvania child support laws require the Family Courts to apply the Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of support payable for the children. The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines are formulas that consider the income of the parents and the number of children, amongst other factors. In addition to the Pennsylvania Support Guideline amount, an order for child support may also require payment of a portion of other costs such as medical coverage for the dependent spouse and/or children, medical expenses not covered by insurance, and day care costs incurred while the custodial parent is working or going to school. Child support may be established below the Guidelines for Pennsylvania child support if the parents have shared physical custody or other children to support.

Fighting for Your Children's Best Interests

Child custody cases are often the most difficult and emotionally charged aspect of family law cases. If you are contemplating the end of a relationship that involves minor children, or you need to establish or modify a child custody order or informal arrangement, you need an experienced Pennsylvania child custody attorney. Hit by a Pennsylvania custody issue? Ciao, Torisky and O'Connor, LLC, can help you in a custody struggle, so call 1-800 I GOT HIT for our experienced counsel today.

PA Physical Custody Laws

Physical custody is the actual physical possession and control of a minor child. Pennsylvania statutes further define physical custody based upon the amount of overnights each parent or third party spends with the minor children. There are different types of physical custody, including:

  • Sole physical custody. Sole custody is the award of custody rights to one parent with no custody rights to the other parent. Sole physical custody is rarely awarded by the Pennsylvania family court judges.
  • Primary physical custody. Primary custody is the right of one parent to have the majority of custodial time with a minor child or minor children.
  • Partial physical custody. Partial custody is the right to take possession of a minor child or minor children away from the custodial parent and may include the right to have overnight custody with the child or children.
  • Shared physical custody. Shared physical custody (sometimes referred to as joint physical custody) is the term used to designate frequent and continuing contact between the minor child or children and his or her parents. This term is utilized most frequently by the Pennsylvania family courts when the actual custody time is split anywhere from 60/40 to 50/50 arrangements.
  • Visitation. Visitation is the right to spend time with a minor child or minor children, but not the right to remove the child or children from the custodial parent's presence or control.

Pennsylvania Legal Custody Issues

In Pennsylvania, legal custody is the right to make important decisions that impact children including decisions regarding education, religion and medical care. If parents are able to cooperate in any minimal fashion, legal custody is often shared between the parents. Under a shared legal custody arrangement, whereas the parent who has physical custody on a given day makes routine day-to-day decisions impacting a minor child, the parents share the responsibility for making major decisions.

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