A woman with blonde hair is holding and kissing a smiling baby in a white outfit. The background is blurred with golden yellow and light green hues, suggesting a bright, sunny day. Both appear to be enjoying a tender moment together.

Raising children is expensive, especially when the parents are going through a divorce. The process of determining each parents’ financial obligations can be complex and time-consuming. If you need to know how child support works in Pennsylvania, please read on and contact an experienced York County, PA child support lawyer.


In Pennsylvania, all parents have a financial responsibility to support their children. A child support order in this state requires one parent to make a monthly payment to help cover the costs of raising a child. Usually, these payments are from one parent to the other. The custodial parent, i.e. the one with whom the child lives, typically receives child support from the noncustodial parent. State laws assume that the custodial parent already spends money directly on the child. The guidelines are based primarily on the number of children who need support and the income of both parents. Nonetheless, there is some flexibility to account for the child’s reasonable needs, the paying parent’s ability to provide support and for specific custody arrangements.


While there are guidelines, judges are given some leeway to determine what a parent’s child support obligation should be. Factors they consider include:

  • Unusual needs and unusual fixed obligations
  • Other support obligations
  • Other household income
  • The child’s age
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the parents
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Whether the child has any special needs
  • Standard of living
  • The best interests of the child

Though these factors may support an adjustment of the payment amount, parents remain responsible for the cost of childcare, private school, the child’s health insurance and other such expenses.


If a parent doesn’t fulfill their financial obligations as dictated by the court’s ruling, he or she can be held in contempt or even sent to jail. Believe it or not, his or her driver’s license and any professional licenses may be suspended. Non-compliant parents can also face criminal charges if nonpayment continues for an extended period of time. If you’re unable to afford child support, you can request a modification. But you will need to show that the factors that went into the initial award have changed or that a new relevant factor has arisen. If you’re unsure of what constitutes the basis of a successful petition for modification of child support, you need to contact a competent York County, PA family law attorney.


We understand that going through the legal system alone can be both confusing and highly stressful. That is why it is our job to help you through every step of the process ahead. For years, we have been helping clients throughout Lancaster County and its surrounding areas through a wide range of legal matters, including personal injury cases, criminal defense matters, family law issues, estate planning law matters, and more. If you need legal assistance, we are here to help. Contact Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today.