Whether you are the obligee or the obligor, an important thing to remember is that an ordered child support amount is determined based on Pennsylvania's support guidelines calculation of how much money it is believed is needed to support a child. Many people find themselves at Domestic Relations-whether as the custodial parent who is concerned about receiving enough support to provide what a child needs or as the non-custodial parent who is concerned about making sure that his/her support obligation can be paid-and it can be a very scary and intimidating experience. Of course, the entire process can leave both parents feeling like they lost: the obligee (the person receiving the support) because he/she feels that the ordered amount of support is not enough to support the child and the obligor (the person paying the support) because he/she feels that the amount is too high to afford.
Without child support, the only person that loses is the child. It must be remembered that although child support can seem like it is all about the money, the main concern is providing for the best interests of the child. The child support determination is made using the same basic calculations in most cases, while also considering any special circumstances, if applicable. Ultimately, the guidelines are in place to ensure that the best interests of the child are considered and met financially.
Therefore, it is important that the conference officer has all of the information necessary to make a proper child support determination. Before a support conference, be prepared and have all of the necessary documentation organized. Any information and documentation must be provided to the conference officer at the time of the conference. For example, the conference officer will need to see proof of all of your income, which is usually in the form of pay stubs, for the six months immediately prior to the conference. It is also important to have proof of expenses such as day care and health insurance premiums paid for the child. Both parents are obligated to provide their share of child support and such expenses for the child based on proportionate shares of their combined incomes. However, if you do not have proof that you are paying such expenses at the time of the conference, you may lose the opportunity to get credit for such expenses. If they are not included in the calculation, you cannot ensure that both parents are sharing in the responsibility in the way that they should.
Whenever children are involved, parents can become emotional and the entire Domestic Relations process can become very adversarial. One of the most common complaints of obligors is that the child support funds are not going toward caring for the child, but rather are being used by the other parent for his/her own expenses and the most common complaint of obligees is that the other parent is trying to get out of paying support or is behind on his/her support obligation. Either way, it helps for both parents to always remember that child support is for the child.