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If I am married to and living with my husband, can I still…

If I am married to...
If I am married to and living with my husband, can I still file for child support?
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3/24/2018
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

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Good afternoon,

Unfortunately, no you cannot collect child support while still married. You would either have to file for divorce or, although Pennsylvania doesn't have formal legal separation, parties can separate and enter into a private separation agreement addressing issues like division of assets, custody and child support while separated.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
My husband has 2 children to a previous relationship, and together we have 4. His ex recently filed for a received more child support. His 2 children that live out side of the house are now getting a much higher percentage of his pay than our 4. His income is the sole house hold income. Is there anything I can do to get a fair amount reserved for my own kids who live with us?

Unfortunately, he still has a duty to support the two children of his first marriage. I'm surprised his ex was able to get an increase in support but I presume that there was either a substantial change (decrease) in her income or an increase in your husband's that was substantial enough to warrant an increase. A court can deviate from child support guidelines where a paying parent has additional children to support but I would be surprised that a court didn't consider all of those factors during the modification hearing.

Absent those other two children spending more overnights at your home to potentially change the amount of support paid, there is nothing you can do at this point.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
There hasn't been a substantial increase in our income since the last support order, or a decrease in his exes. We have 2 more children now than when the previous order was issued but the support still nearly doubled which has been financially crippling. It is to the point where we are unable to live on the amount he brings home. Would there be legal repercussions for claiming we are separated so I could file for support?

How exactly was she able to convince a court for an increase in child support with no substantial change in circumstances?

Filing as separate when you actually aren't I imagine could be seen as a form of fraud --I would not suggest that.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I'm not sure what happened in the hearing, I didn't attend. I do know she had an attorney and we did not, but I was under the impression that for a support hearing it wouldn't make a difference. We were confident that it couldn't increase, because like I said, we had 2 more children since the previous hearing and our income hadn't increased significantly by any means. Additionally we had just purchased a home. So short of an appeal, which likely wouldn't yield any results, we have no options I suppose.

I don't understand how it could have happened then. Either parent can petition the court for an increase or decrease in support, but they have to be able to show a material and substantial change in circumstances since the previous order. Something like buying a home isn't a material change (since you don't have to buy a house, you could rent, for example), but the involuntary loss of a job, for example, and a resulting decrease in income, would be the basis for a modification.

It may be worth getting a transcript of the hearing and talking to a local family law attorney about a possible appeal.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you for your time!

You're very welcome. I'm so sorry I couldn't give you more positive news. I do hope something can be worked out.

RobertJDFL
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