In Pennsylvania, as in every other state, child support is calculated according to the guidelines published by the state Supreme Court. Child support guidelines are designed to make calculations rapid and easy. For this reason, the child support guidelines place primary emphasis upon the incomes of the parents rather than expenditures. That’s why determining income is the key to each child support case. The team of experienced child support lawyers at Pollock Begg have negotiated and litigated cases under the child support guidelines for decades. Our experience helps to ensure the guidelines are applied correctly to determine the proper amount of support to which a child is legally entitled.
The guidelines are based upon statistical surveys which determine the percentage of household income intact families spend on their children. The support guidelines are revised periodically, at least every three years. The support guidelines contain a table to calculate the proper amount of child support based upon the parents’ net monthly incomes or earning capacities.
What are the Pennsylvania child support guidelines?
The Pennsylvania child support guidelines are amended periodically to reflect an updated cost of living for children of intact families based upon an income shares survey. The guidelines are expressed in the form of a chart in which the parents’ combined net incomes are shown on the vertical axis and the number of children is shown on the horizontal axis. The current chart has an uppermost limit of $30,000 per month combined net income. For cases above the limits of the chart, there is a formula for determining child support in high-income cases. The budget-based formula that previously existed under Melzer v. Witsberger was abolished in May 2010. This resulted in a change for many high-income child support cases. For a calculation of what you should be receiving or paying under the current guidelines, a child support calculator can provide an estimate, but a Pennsylvania divorce attorney can provide a more accurate result.
Are Pennsylvania support guidelines binding?
There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support determined under the support guidelines is the proper amount. The amount of child support determined under the support guidelines may be increased or reduced if one of the parents can demonstrate unusual needs, fixed obligations or other reasons that justify deviation from the support guidelines. The child support rules provide nine factors a court may consider in its decision to increase or decrease the basic child support award.
Are expenses considered under the support guidelines?
Generally, most expenses are not considered under the child support guidelines. The guidelines are intended to predict the typical amount a family would spend on food, clothing, shelter and transportation for a child. Other kinds of expenses, however, may be added to the basic amount of child support yielded by the Pennsylvania support guidelines.
Under the Pennsylvania support law, basic child support does not include child care expenses, private or parochial school tuition, summer camp expenses, health insurance premiums, unreimbursed medical, dental and optical expenses, extracurricular activities or special needs. Generally, these expenses are allocated in proportion to each parent’s net income and added to the basic child support obligation. The experienced team of child support lawyers at Pollock Begg can help parents understand how much child support they are entitled to receive or obligated to pay.
Call our offices for an appointment before going to a hearing or negotiating a child support order.