How Do Pennsylvania Courts Determine Child Support Arrangements?
Pennsylvania’s child support system is based on the “income shares model.” The full guidelines the state uses are outlined in Chapter 1910 of the Pennsylvania Code. Below is an overview of the guidelines and how they might affect your case.
In these guidelines, the state provides an estimate for a total amount of support a parent would spend on a child in a standard intact family unit and then splits this amount proportionately between parents based on their incomes.
The formula for determining child support arrangements uses the number of children and the combined net monthly income of both parents to arrive at a reasonable support amount. For details, see the schedule in Rule 1910-16.3. Parents share this responsibility for support in an amount that’s proportional to their incomes.
For example, imagine a couple has two children. Parent A earns a net income of $1,000 a month and Parent B earns a net income of $2,000 a month. According to the above schedule, the total amount of support will be $1,033. Parent A would be responsible for one-third of the amount, as he makes one-third of the combined money, while Parent B would be responsible for two-thirds of the amount. Whoever is the noncustodial parent would pay the custodial parent.
Additional factors to consider
There are a few other factors that could play a role in the amount of child support a court determines for your case:
- Shared custody: If children spend 40 percent (or more) of the time with the noncustodial parent, the formula includes adjustments in consideration of the costs of having partial custody.
- Extra expenses: The court may include additional expenses in the support award to cover costs such as childcare, children’s health insurance and unreimbursed medical expenses.
- Other circumstances: Pennsylvania’s formula provides some leeway to adjust support for extremely low-income or high-income situations.