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Pennsylvania Child Custody and Support Guidelines

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Pennsylvania Child Custody and Support Guidelines:

In making an order for custody, partial custody or visitation to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to encourage, permit and allow frequent and continuing contact and physical access between the noncustodial parent and the child. In addition, the court shall consider each parent and adult household member's present and past violent or abusive conduct which may include, but is not limited to, abusive conduct as defined under the act of October 7, 1976 (P.L.1090, No.218), known as the Protection From Abuse Act. The court shall award sole custody when it is in the best interest of the child. Also, an order for shared custody may be awarded by the court when it is in the best interest of the child:

  • Upon application of one or both parents.
  • When the parties have agreed to an award of shared custody.

[Based on Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Section: 5303]

Child Support:

Pennsylvania uses the "Income Shares" model to determine child support. Child and spousal support shall be awarded pursuant to the Pennsylvania child support guidelines as established by general rule by the Supreme Court, so that persons similarly situated shall be treated similarly. The guideline shall be based upon the reasonable needs of the child or spouse seeking support and the ability of the obligor to provide support. In determining the reasonable needs of the child or spouse seeking support and the ability of the obligor to provide support, the guideline shall place primary emphasis on the net incomes and earning capacities of the parties, with allowable deviations for unusual needs, extraordinary expenses and other factors, such as the parties' assets, as warrant special attention. In every proceeding to establish or modify an order which requires the payment of child support, the court shall ascertain the ability of each parent to provide health care coverage for the children of the parties, and the order shall provide health care coverage for each child as appropriate.

Where applicable under this section, a court may order either or both parents who are separated, divorced, unmarried or otherwise subject to an existing support obligation to provide equitably for educational costs of their child whether an application for this support is made before or after the child has reached 18 years of age. The responsibility to provide for postsecondary educational expenses is a shared responsibility between both parents. [Based on Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Title 23 - Sections: 4322, 4326, and 4327]

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