Child Support


Child Support 

Base Child Support

In Lancaster, Pennsylvania any every parent has a legal obligation for the financial support of their children. Pennsylvania follows the income shares model which is a formula based upon the respective after tax incomes of the two parents involved. There is a statutory guideline amount of support that is the same for all couples in Pennsylvania who make the same combined net income and have the same amount of children they are supporting. As an example if parent #1 has after tax income of $3,000 a month and parent #2 has after tax income of $2000 a month - they have a combined after tax income of $5,000 per month. According to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1910.16-3 if they have 1 child the base support per month for the parents combined is $993. From there the parties share of income determines their share of support. In our example the income for parent #1 ($3,000) would be 60% of the combined incomes ($5,000) and parent #2 therefore would be 40%. If parent #2 was the primary custodial parent (child resides with that parent at least 51% of the overnights per year) and parent #1 had no more than 30% of the overnights per year, than parent #1 would owe to parent #2 60% of the base child support from the guidelines which in our scenario was $993. Therefore, parent #1 would pay base support to parent #2 in this case of $595.80 a month. (These numbers may be subject to change from time to time when the guidelines are updated and are for demonstration purposes only.)

Other expenses:

In addition to the base support the other expenses can be included including the cost of health insurance premiums, unreimbursed medical expenses, child care (reasonably necessary for a parent to work), private school tuition, costs of extra curricular activities. Typically these too would be apportioned based upon the party's income percentage. Pa.R.C.P. 1910.16-6.

Substantial or Shared Custody

If the parent paying support (the obligor) has 40% to 50% of the overnight periods of custody a year - they may see a reduction in the base support amount. Consider that 5 overnights every 14 days (2 weeks) is about 36%, so a party would need to generally have 6 to 7 overnights in a 2 week period for the reduction to apply. The reduction reduces the parties share by the percentage above 30% once they have at least 40% of the overnights. In other words 3 over nights every week would be 156 overnights a year or 42.7% of the overnights a year. In this instance they would reduce their share of support to be paid by 12.7%. In our original example above parent #1 was paying 60% of the base support. If that parent had 3 overnights every week they would be paying 47.3% (60-12.7) of the base support amount of $993 or $469.69 a month. Pa.R.C.P. 1910.16-4. (These numbers may be subject to change from time to time when the guidelines are updated and are for demonstration purposes only.)

How income is determined:

The income of the parents used to determine support can be based upon actual earnings or earning capacity. Actual Earnings, consists of all the income a parent in earning, including bonuses, overtime, if they have more than one job, and can include social security, disability and unemployment. The court is trying to determine a parent's average monthly income available for support. Typically if you are salaried or always work the same hours each week and have a stable hourly rate, this is a pretty straight forward determination. However some people have income that varies from pay check to pay check and sometimes it can vary quite a lot. This may be due to seasonal jobs, or jobs that are dependent on the weather, jobs that have slow periods, of where the company is short staffed - in any of these scenarios our experienced attorneys are here to provide guidance and insight on your particular situation. 

In some instances a court may instead rely on a person's earning capacity if it is determined their actual earnings are less than what they are capable of or should be earning. This is more subjective and not as easy to determine as compared to when a party's income is clear from their current employment and paystubs. A court may review prior work history, education, degrees, licenses and other skills a party possess to determine whether the person is underemployed or unemployed and this is through their own doing. Or if they reduction income was voluntary and not involuntary such as a being laid off through no fault of their own. In these instances a court is limited to holding a person to one full-time job (40 hours per week) - where as with actual earnings the income from a second job or overtime will be included. Pa.R.C.P. 1910.16-2.


Our attorneys can provide a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and how to proceed. Call 717-344-5525 or contact us.

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