Consider the Cost of Child Custody in Pennsylvania

Consider the Cost of Child Custody in Pennsylvania

When it comes to a divorce, child custody is one of the most difficult problems that Pennsylvania faces today. Trying to decide what is best for the children involved is a responsibility many have lost countless nights of sleep over. The costs, financially, emotionally, and in time, consumes the parents, children, and the state governments trying to untangle the mess of a broken marriage.

So, why is it that some in the United States has so many problems with such a natural event as raising children? There are many reasons, but probably the overwhelming factor for contributing to problems with child custody is maturity. Merriam Webster defines maturity as attaining a final or desired state. When it comes to raising and taking care of children, a desired state should mean taking on all responsibilities that go along with attaining the goal of raising children to the legal age of adulthood. Being able to do so requires you recognize and devote yourselves to the resources at hand that will help you attain the goal. Some of the basic resources necessary to raise children include a source of income, a nurturing and positive environment, adequate shelter, preparation for the future, good healthcare, and an adequate diet. In a nutshell, raising children requires you to be responsible at working hard to provide the basic resources for your children. Both you and your spouse should be in sync, dedicated, determined, and focused on your goals if you expect to be successful in raising healthy children.

When a marriage becomes irretrievably broken, as a spouse, what does your mature responsibility then become to your children? In places like Harrisburg, Lebanon, Carlisle, and other cities in Pennsylvania, if a friendly and formally signed agreement between the spouses concerning basic resources for the children has not been made, the Court of Common Pleas may decide what is ultimately best for the children. If either or both of you are capable parents, one of you may be chosen as the primary physical care taker of the children, called the custodial caretaker. The one of you not chosen as the custodial caretaker will then be referred to as the non-custodial caretaker. Regardless of how you are now referred to by the courts, neither of you loses the responsibility of raising your children to a healthy adulthood. Because the primary custodial caretaker keeps the children most of the time, their resources, like income, will be depleted faster than the non-custodial caretaker’s. Therefore, it stands to reason, if you are the non-custodial caretaker, you may be ordered to contribute toward your child’s resources through what the courts call child support.

Pennsylvania child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent’s income. These two support amounts are then offset to establish which parent will pay the other parent for support of the child. All income is typically verified by examining past W-2’s and child support worksheets are available at the courthouse. Ideally, the amounts chosen are not intended to break either side, but to maintain the level of resources that best supports the general welfare of the children involved.

Maybe you have found yourself in the predicament of divorcing with children, and you are not sure what is fair and what is not fair when it comes to your children. If you and your spouse cannot amiably agree on a legal solution, you may need legal counsel from a professional who is trained to help you in your situation. Do the mature thing and contact us right now at, and we will put you in touch with a divorce lawyer in your area that can help you on legal matters concerning child custody and support.