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How child custody and support laws impact families

Pennsylvania parents who divorce might find themselves struggling with issues regarding their children. If they are unable to come to an accord regarding custody and visitation, the could will make the decision, following the principle of what will be in the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, some parents attempting to win child custody may leverage this doctrine to support their own arguments, and they might try to portray their ex-spouses unfavorably or lie to their children to alienate them from their other parent.

Paternity and parentage are sometimes issues in custody and support proceedings. In some instances, challenges to paternity orders are subject to a statute of limitations. Parents aren't the only individuals who can petition for visitation and custody of a child, but courts retain their own discretion in judging the validity of such claims.

Child support terms are also governed by a complex set of rules. While the majority of jurisdictions employ a shared-income formula to determine payment amounts, others only take the finances of the parent who pays support into account. Courts can order punitive actions, like wage garnishment or bank account levies, against parents who fail to adhere to their support terms.

Child support payments may be beyond some parents' abilities to maintain, especially if they experience unanticipated financial hardships. In the event that a noncustodial parent becomes unable to meet the court-ordered obligations, a family law attorney may suggest filing a motion for an order modification with the court. It is important to note that even if granted, the modification will be prospective only and will not affect any amounts that were delinquent.

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