Pennsylvania law provides a guideline spreadsheet that establishes a base amount of money that parents must contribute toward child support. It begins by taking the parties' combined net income and then delineates a basic amount that the parties shall pay for one to six children. The guidelines address situations where the parties make anywhere between 0 and $30,000 per month. However, what happens when the parties make greater than $30,000 per month between them?
When the parents' combined monthly net income is greater than $30,000, the court applies a three step process to determine the parent's respective child support obligations.
First, the Court applies the following formula as a preliminary analysis in calculating the amount of basic support to be apportioned between the parties according to their respective incomes:
One child: $2,756 + 6.5% of combined net income above $30,000 per month.
Two children: $3,777 + 8% of combined net income above $30,000 per month.
Three children: $4,210 + 9.2% of combined net income above $30,000 per month.
Four children: $4,703 +10.3% of combined net income above $30,000 per month.
Five children: $5173 + 11.3% of combined net income above $30,000 per month.
Six children: $5,623 + 12.3% of combined income above $30,000 per month.
Next, the Court will make any applicable adjustments to the support amount for circumstances such as shared custody.
Finally, the Court will consider factors such as (1) unusual needs and unusual fixed obligations; (2) other support obligations of the parties; (3) other household income; (4) ages of the child / children; (5) the relative assets and liabilities of the parties; (6) medical expenses not covered by insurance; (7) standard of living of the parties and their child / children; (8) the duration of the marriage; (9) and any other relevant factors including the best interests of the child / children.
Obviously, situations where parents are making greater than $30,000 per month are rare. However, if your case falls into this "high income" classification, it is essential to have an experienced family law attorney evaluate your case. As you can tell from the above list of criteria used by the Court to determine support, the calculation is more complicated than the typical support case. Therefore, even a small adjustment to your support obligation can have a substantial impact over a period of months or years.
Feel free to contact my Pittsburgh law office, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, if you need legal advice for any child support or divorce related matter.