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Rules for the termination of child support

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2022 | Child Custody

As Pennsylvania parents, we all want what’s best for our children. Child support is often one of the best ways to ensure meeting a child’s needs after their parents have divorced. But when does child support terminate?

What is child support?

Child support guidelines set out a series of conditions to be met for support to be terminated. These include:

  • The child must reach the age of 18 or become emancipated
  • The child must have graduated high school or vocational school
  • The child support obligation must not be in arrears

In meeting all the conditions listed above, the non-custodial parent may request the termination of support.

How is child support calculated?

Under Pennsylvania law, child support is determined based on a percentage of income. The court will use one of the following guidelines to calculate the amount: the lower of the parents’ combined adjusted gross income (AGI) or the poverty guideline for their family size.

If one parent has custody and the other does not, then that parent’s net income is used to calculate child support. Net income means all sources of income, including wages, tips, commissions, rental property income, Social Security benefits, pension benefits, and alimony/separate maintenance payments.

If both parents have custody, then each parent’s net income is included in the child support calculation. Each parent’s net income includes all sources of income after federal taxes are paid. Taxes include state and local taxes and applicable deductions, such as mortgage interest or charitable contributions.

When can a parent terminate child support in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, parents may terminate child support any time after the child reaches 18. The parental obligation to provide financial assistance ends when the child completes high school or vocational training, as determined by the court.

What are the consequences of terminating child support?

If you seek to terminate your child support obligation, you must file a petition with the court. You must continue to pay it until the judge issues a ruling.