Raising a child without a spouse or partner can be difficult for several reasons. One of the most tangible challenges is affording the things the child needs on a daily basis and for the long term. Fortunately, a solid divorce order or settlement will include child support payments that can allow a custodial parent to provide the child with a quality standard of living. However, both the parent receiving and the one paying support may not fully understand what the payments should cover and how to seek post-divorce modifications if the amount no longer covers those items.
When a Pennsylvania court orders a parent to pay child support, it usually follows an examination of the circumstances, the income and expenses of each parent, and the needs of the child. In most states, a parent who receives monthly support may use the money for any of the following and other expenses for the child:
- Educational expenses and school functions, such as field trips
- Sports and extracurricular activities
- Some medical expenses
- Transportation, especially when it involves visitation to the other parent
Pennsylvania law may not require a parent paying support to cover certain other expenses, and this may mean both parents must split the cost. However, as children grow, their needs and expenses change. A custodial parent may find it more difficult to afford the additional items or interests the child needs or requests. Parents who cannot work out a fair division of these costs may return to court to seek a post-divorce modification of their child support order.