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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Child Support

Laws current as of
December 15, 2023

Child Support

Who can get child support?
How much child support will I get?
How long does child support last?

Who can get child support?

You can ask for a child support order if your child is in your physical care.1 This is true even if you do not already have a court order about your child’s custody.

1 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4341(b)

How much child support will I get?

Child support orders are based upon the reasonable needs of the child and the ability of the parents to pay support.1 The judge will use specific Pennsylvania child support guidelines to figure out the amount.2 To see an estimate of what you might receive, you can go to the Pennsylvania Child Support Program website.

Every child support order will include a requirement that either or both parents provide for the child to have health care coverage.3 The judge may also order either or both parents to pay a percentage of the child’s medical costs that are not covered by insurance.4

1 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4322(a)
2 231 Pa. Code § 1910.16-1
3 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4326(l)
4 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4326(e)

How long does child support last?

Parents in Pennsylvania are responsible for the support of children who are 18 years or younger.1

Parents may sometimes also be required to support children who are older than 18.2  A judge may order parents who already have a child support order to pay for educational expenses after high school, which means tuition, fees, books, room, board, and other educational materials for college or vocational school.3 These expenses can be ordered before or after your child turns 18 and can continue until your child turns 23, or longer if the court finds there are exceptional circumstances.4 However, the judge will only order these expenses be paid if your child has made reasonable efforts to apply for scholarships, grants, and work-study assistance, and any amounts awarded will be deducted from the expenses the judge orders. 5

This type of case for educational expenses after high school may be filed by:

  1. your child if s/he is over 18; or
  2. by you if:
    • your child is under 18; or
    • your child is over 18 and gives you permission in writing.6

1 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4321(2)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4321(3)
3 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4327(a), (j)
4 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4327(a), (f)(3)
5 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4327(a), (d)
6 23 Pa.C.S.A § 4327(b)