Five Common Misconceptions About Child Support in Pennsylvania

In many cases, a person works with a Pennsylvania child support lawyer when the person is involved in a custody and support case. Unfortunately, when questions about child support arise years after the case was settled, a person may not contact an attorney for answers to child support questions. The problem with not contacting an attorney with a question about child support is that you may believe a child support myth that can get you into trouble if you rely on the myth.

Five Child Support Myths That Could Get You into Trouble

1.  If my ex-spouse does not pay child support, I don’t have to grant visitation.

If you deny visitation based on non-payment of child support, you could be in trouble. Child support and visitation are two separate issues in Pennsylvania. You cannot deny visitation without court approval. If your ex-spouse stops paying child support, call your attorney.

2.  If I am paying child support, I am not responsible for any medical bills.

You are responsible for your child’s medical expenses, regardless of whether you are paying support or receiving support. In some cases, the parent receiving child support is responsible for a certain amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses. However, most orders require parents to split unreimbursed medical expenses. You need to refer to your child support order to determine your liability for unreimbursed medical expenses.

3.  I am entitled to receipts for how my child support payments are used.

Child support payments may be used to pay any expense that is associated with the child. Common examples of expenses related to the child’s needs include food, housing, clothing, education, entertainment, and extra-curricular activities. As the payor, you are not entitled to demand receipts or accounting for how your child support payments are used.  However, if you believe your child is being neglected, you should consult with your attorney to discuss your legal options for protecting your child.

4.  I can skip child support payments if my ex-spouse gives me permission.

You are expected to contribute to the financial care of your child. If you are under a child support order, your ex-spouse cannot “forgive” or “forego” court-ordered child support payments. If you pay the support payments directly to your ex-spouse, he or she may not report skipped child support payments; however, that fact does not relieve your legal obligation to pay all payments according to the terms of the child support order.

5.  I can stop paying child support when my child turns 18 years of age.

In most cases, child support ends when a child reaches the age of 18 years or is emancipated under Pennsylvania law. However, 18 is not a magical number. Some parents must continue to pay child support payments after their child reaches the age of 18 years, especially if the child is still in high school, has special needs, or requires special education beyond the normal number of years required to receive a high school diploma. Before you stop paying child support payments on your child’s 18th birthday, you should review your child support order and/or consult with your attorney.

A Pennsylvania Child Support Attorney Can Help

If you do not have an attorney and you have questions about child support in Pennsylvania, we encourage you to contact our Pennsylvania child support lawyers to get the support you need.