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How child support is calculated in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2023 | Divorce |

You may have heard about actor Kevin Costner’s very public divorce from his wife. As part of her divorce filing, Costner’s wife is requesting up to $200,000 per month in child support for their three children. This may be an eye-popping number to most Johnstown parents who do not earn that much in a year, let alone spend that much on their kids each month.

Still, this case provides a good, if extreme, example of how calculating child support works. In Pennsylvania, child support is based more on the noncustodial parent’s ability to pay than the children’s monthly expenses. But there is a limit. The standard formula considers each parent’s monthly gross income but only net income up to $30,000. However, if the parents cannot settle on a dollar figure themselves, the judge is allowed to consider income beyond that if either parent (or both) earns that much.

Other factors considered in determining child support include:

  • The number of minor children the divorcing spouses have together.
  • Whether one spouse is paying alimony to the other.
  • Child care expenses and health insurance premiums for the children.
  • Whether either parent pays union dues.

Very high child support orders like the one being considered in the Costner divorce are rare in Pennsylvania, even when the noncustodial parent has a large income. Huge child support orders often lead to appeals and other delays. Once ordered, they can be hard to enforce and lead to conflict between the exes.

You deserve a reasonable divorce

Very few people reading this blog will ever have to consider a $200,000 child support payment. But child support is a vital matter to resolve when parents get divorced — one among many. A reasonable and carefully considered divorce settlement will give you and your children the financial support and time together you all need.