Child support actions are brought to establish liability of one parent to provide support for the child to the other parent. This is an absolute obligation that must be satisfied. It is calculated based on the net monthly income of the parties. To do so, the court will deduct from a parent’s gross income: federal, state and local taxes, FICA or self-employment taxes, non-voluntary retirement contributions, union dues, and alimony paid to the other party.
All too often, child support proceedings are clouded by the parents’ disdain for each other, and not focused on the best interests of the child. While much of the support entered by the court follows the guidelines, having an experienced Pittsburgh Child Support Lawyer who advocates for your rights can make the difference between a fair support order and an impossible one.
Child-support actions begin with a support complaint filed by one of the parents, and it must be brought in the county in which the defendant or child resides, in which the defendant is regularly employed, or the county in which the plaintiff resides and who resides in the last family home. After filing, the parties then have a conference with a Domestic Relations Officer (DRO) in which the DRO attempts to establish income (via the paystubs, tax returns, 1099’s, medical records) for both parties and an interim support order.
If the parties dispute the order or the income, then the parties appear for a support hearing in front of a Support Hearing Officer to produce evidence and argue for a new support calculation. The Hearing Officer then issues a Recommendation Establishing Support Order. If, after the Recommendation, a party still disagrees with the order, that party may file “exceptions” – objections to evidence, statements or findings of facts, conclusions of law, or to any other matters occurring during the hearing – within 20 days of the date of receiving the order or the date of the mailing of the order (whichever comes first). Exceptions requires a knowledge of the law and applicable issues to address from the hearing.
After all is said and done, a party may file a Petition for Modification of a Support order if they can demonstrate a substantial and material change in circumstances. Some examples of these changes may include the existence of additional income, income sources or assets; increases in childcare or medical coverage; change in custody; emancipation of the child(ren); death of the plaintiff receiving support; or the implementation of new guidelines or when the parties reached a private agreement.
Child support can be a complicated process for litigants, which is why having an experienced Pittsburgh Child Support Lawyer in your corner with knowledge and success fighting these cases is so important. At Joe Pometto Law, we walk with our clients every step of the support process and give them a fighting chance to a support order that is fair and balanced. THERE IS NO GOOD REASON FOR YOU TO FACE THESE ISSUES ALONE. GO FOR JOE – CONTACT OUR PITTSBURGH CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEYS NOW AT (412) 593-4529.