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Child and Spousal Support

In calculating a child and spousal support obligation in Pennsylvania, if the joint net monthly incomes of the parties amounts to $30,000.00 or less, a support formula is used.

The formula is based upon the net monthly incomes of both parties, which are calculated and added together, to arrive at the monthly income available for support.  This figure is put into the Guidelines formula, together with the number of children the couple has, and a total support figure for all of the children is calculated.  Generally, the party who is the partial physical custodian pays the other parent a percentage of the total support figure equal to the percentage of total monthly income the paying party earns.

For example, let’s say the total net monthly income of the parties is $5,000.00 and the partial physical custodian’s income is $3,000.00. In this case, the partial physical custodian has 60% of the total income.  This mean that the partial physical custodian will pay the other party 60% of the total support figure (basic support).

If the parties have 50-50 custody, called shared physical custody, the figure to be paid will most likely be different – but that is a subject for another blog post.

Pennsylvania is not an earnings state; rather, it is an earning capacity state.  This means that for purposes of calculating support, parties must work to the capacity.  Therefore, if a person works part-time, or not at all, but has the capacity to work full-time, the court might calculate their net monthly income based on that person’s full-time capacity rather than their actual part-time or no-time work schedule.  Disability, such as when a person is receiving Social Security Disability, can be an exception to this rule.

The calculation of basic support is not the end of the inquiry, however.  Apportionment of expenses such as payment for child care, day care, private school, summer camp, religious lessons, and many other items may also be considered by the court in the appropriate case.  In such cases, a percentage of the cost of those items, (in the above example, it would be 60%), may be assessed on the paying party (called the obligor), in addition to the basic support number.  Spousal support, which is support for a dependent spouse, may also be assessed in addition to basic support.

If you have any questions about child and/or spousal support in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, please contact us.  This can be a simple area of law or it can be complicated.  As with any area, don’t be afraid to call……we are here to help.  For more information or to discuss support concerns, contact our office today!


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