Pennsylvania periodically updates many of its child support rules to reflect changes in society and the cost of living. Starting on May 1, 2017, Pennsylvania’s updated child support guidelines went into effect. These changes usually last for four years, so these numbers should be correct until 2021. This may entitle many people who are receiving or paying child support to child support modification. Some of these numbers increase payments, and others decrease them – so this may help you regardless of whether you receive or pay child support.
If you want to change your child support orders, or you are starting to receive child support this year, talk to an attorney. The Philadelphia family lawyers at The Sadek and Cooper Law Offices help parents who are looking to receive child support or payors who want to reduce their payments. Talk to an attorney about how the 2017 changes to the child support guidelines may help you.
New PA Child Support Guidelines for 2017
The Pennsylvania child support guidelines are very comprehensive. Some states will tell you to calculate your own income, then give you a general percentage that is applied for each child. Pennsylvania’s child support rules are more comprehensive and tell you how much money it takes per month to raise a child at each income point.
The guidelines look at the “combined adjusted net income” for both parents. This is combined, meaning it is the total income between the two parents. Additionally, since it is the “net” income, it is the income you take home after taxes. The “adjusted” element comes into effect to raise or lower the income based on other rules in the guidelines.
The 2016 guidelines, for instance, ordered the following amounts for parents with a monthly income of $2,000:
- $474 for one child,
- $685 for two children,
- $803 for three children,
- $897 for four children,
- $986 for five children, or
- $1,016 for six children
The updated 2017 guidelines modify this slightly to:
- $475 for one child,
- $686 for two children,
- $805 for three children,
- $899 for four children,
- $985 for five children, and
- $968 for six children.
These changes are very small in some of these cases. For instance, for parents with a combined income of $2,000 per month, the change could be as little as $12 or as great as $576 over the course of a year. For other incomes, the changes are greater. The following table shows the total yearly change in alimony based on some examples from the new 2017 guidelines:
These examples highlight how the changes were implemented. For lower income parents, amounts were generally reduced, but amounts were increased for wealthier parents. The following is an excerpt of the support amounts for various income levels:
The full table presented in Pa. Code § 1910.16-3 covers incomes from $1,000 per month to $30,000 per month in $50 increments, so to find your specific value, check the full table.
Calculating Child Support in PA
The table is only part of the child support calculation. This table gives you the “presumptive” child support amounts. This does not meant that this number is the final support amount you will be forced to pay or receive. That number is the “basic child support obligation,” the suggested amount of money needed for childcare each month. The parent paying the support only pays their share of this amount, based on how much of the income they provide.
If the parent paying child support makes exactly half the income, they pay half this amount. If they make more or less than 50% of the income, their payment adjusts accordingly. The parent who has custody does not need to pay child support, as their day-to-day expenses will account for their share of this basic child support obligation. This split also assumes that the child spends about 30% of their time with the non-custodial parent. You may also be entitled to a reduction in your support payments if your children spend closer to half their time with you.
Because these numbers are all “presumptive,” they are merely guidelines. Every situation is different, and the courts are willing to consider your specific situation. In the end, the best interests of the children are always the court’s main concern. They want the parents to be able to support their children and themselves – they do not want parents to be unable to afford payments.
In order to take advantage of the new numbers for 2017, you need to request a change to your support order. Your ordered payments will not change automatically; you need to ask the court to increase or decrease payments using the new 2017 schedule.
Child Support Modification Attorneys
To take full advantage of the new 2017 child support guidelines, talk to an attorney. The child support lawyers at The Sadek and Cooper Law Offices may be able to file for child support modifications and get your payments reduced or increased. Call our family lawyers today for a free consultation on your case at 215-625-0851.