Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines Amended
The Pennsylvania child support guidelines were modified slightly on August 3, 2011, effective September 3, 2011.
1. Shared Custody Adjustment. The guidelines grant a reduction in child support for parents who have custody of their children 40% to 50% of the time. (No adjustment is authorized if a parent has custody less than 40% of the time.) Still, the guidelines did not explain how to apply this adjustment when there were multiple children with different custody schedules. Now, in cases where there is more than one child, and each child spends different amounts of time with each parent, the Rules require the court to take an average percentage. If the average percentage is more than 40%, then the reduction in child support will be applied. The modified rules also clarify that high income cases are subject to the shared custody adjustment.
2. Medical insurance premiums. A sentence has been added to the medical insurance provisions of the child support guidelines to clarify that the insurance premium paid by the parent who owes child support shall not be allocated between the parents.
3. Social Security benefits. The guidelines previously provided that Social Security benefits being received by a child would be added to the parents’ net incomes and then deducted from the child support award. A sentence has been added to state that this applies only if the parent who receives child support is receiving the Social Security benefit for the child. If the parent who pays child support receives the benefit, the benefit is added to that parent’s income and is not deducted from the child support award.
4. Right to initiate support. The new rules provide that a parent or spouse who owes support may initiate the action, which is a significant change from the past that allows a support-owing spouse to obtain the tax advantages of a written order. The parent who has primary custody is the parent who will receive child support. In cases where custody is shared equally, the parent who has less income will receive child support.