Pennsylvania Supreme Court Amends Support Rules Associated With Custody

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled this week to amend the rules regarding child support in cases where parties either divide custody or have split custody scheduled. Divided Custody is defined as cases when parents have multiple children and one parent has primary custody of one or more children and the other parent has primary custody of one or more children. The rule was amended to state the following: “When calculating a child support obligation, and one or more of the children reside primarily with each party, the court shall offset the parties’ respective child support obligations and award the net difference to the obligee as child support.” The rules provide the following explanation, “For example, if the parties have three children, one of whom resides with Father and two of whom reside with Mother, and their net monthly incomes are $2,500 and $1,250 respectively, Father’s child support obligation is calculated as follows. Using the schedule in Rule 1910.16-3 for two children at the parties’ combined net monthly income of $3,750, the amount of basic child support to be apportioned between the parties is $1,200. As Father’s income is 67% of the parties’ combined net monthly income, Father’s support obligation for the two children living with Mother is $804. Using the schedule in Rule 1910.16-3 for one child, Mother’s support obligation for the child living with Father is $276. Subtracting $276 from $804 produces a net basic support amount of $528 payable to Mother as child support.”

This may also impact the calculation of a combined child support and alimony pendnte lite (spousal support awarded) in such circumstances.. In these cases court shall offset the obligor’s spousal and child support obligation with the obligee’s child support obligation and award the net difference to the obligee as spousal and child support. When one or more of the children resides with each party then, in calculating the spousal support or alimony pendente lite obligation, the court shall deduct from the obligor’s income both the support owed for the child or children residing with the obligee, as well as the direct support the obligor provides to the child or children living with the obligor, calculated in accordance with the guidelines as if the child or children were not living with the obligor.

The rule regarding varied custody schedules was also changed. Varied custody is defined as cases when each child spends different amounts of custodial time with the obligor (or payor). For example, this rule would apply when one parent has primary physical custody of one child and shared physical custody of the other child. The new rule provides: ” (2) Varied Custodial Schedules. When the parties have more than one child and each child spends different amounts of partial or shared custodial time with the obligor, the trier of fact shall add the percentage of time each child spends with the obligor and divide by the number of children to determine the obligor’s percentage of custodial time. If the average percentage of time the children spend with the obligor is 40% or more, the provisions of subdivision (c) above apply.”

If you have questions about how these rules may impact your support case, contact our office in Pittsburgh today!

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