On January 12, 2010, the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee enacted amendments to the Pennsylvania child support guidelines. The amendments became effective on May 12, 2010.
The new Pennsylvania child support guidelines now define high income cases as those in which the parties’ combined income exceeds $30,000.00 per month. This translates to $360,000.00 combined net income per year and approximately $500,000.00 combined gross income per year. The Melzer formula has been eliminated and so has the old definition of high income cases, which was $20,000.00 per month combined net income.
Under Rule 1910.16-3.1, when the parties’ net income is above $30,000.00, a three step process shall be used to calculate the parties’ support obligation. First, a formula set forth in the Rule shall be applied in calculating the basic child support. For cases in which the parties’ combined net monthly income is above $30,000.00, the formula first applies a fixed percentage to calculate the amount of support. Second, the Court shall apply other factors, such as child care expenses, private school tuition, summer camp, extracurricular activities and/or mortgage adjustment to determine the total support. Finally, the court shall consider the deviation factors, which may include unusual needs and unusual fixed obligations, other support obligations of the parties, other income in the household, ages of the children, relative assets and liabilities of the parties, medical expenses not covered by insurance, standard of living of the parties and children, and other relevant factors.
The new rule is intended to bring all Pennsylvania child support cases under the guidelines and treat similarly situated parties similarly.