By Shannon C. Braun, Paralegal and Lance J. Nelson, Esquire-
In Pennsylvania, basic child support[note]Basic child support is the base amount based on the parent’s net incomes and the guidelines. There are many other expenses that may be considered when calculating child support such as, medical insurance costs, daycare expenses, extra-curricular activities etc.[/note] is determined by using the Income Shares Model. The first step is to determine the parties’ net incomes available for support. Then the parties’ incomes are combined for a total household income. The total household income and the number of children are applied to the Basic Child Support Schedule. The amount determined by the schedule is then divided proportionately between the parties’ based on the percentage of their respective incomes.
Mr. Smith and Ms. Jones are the parents of two (2) minor children, Mary and John. Mr. Smith’s monthly net income available for support is $5,000 and Ms. Jones’s net income is $3,000. The total household income available for support is $8,000. Based on the schedule, with a total monthly household income of $8,000, basic child support for two (2) children, is $1,795 per month. Mr. Smith’s income of $5,000 is 62.5% ($5,000/$8,000 = 62.5%) of the total household income and therefore, Mr. Smith would be responsible to pay Ms. Jones 62.5% of $1,795 or $1,122 per month in basic child support for Mary and John.
Consideration for Additional Expenses
There are many additional expenses which can be considered on top of basic child support. Some of these expenses include daycare expenses and medical insurance costs. Using the same scenario above, but assuming Mr. Smith provides medical insurance for Mary and John, with a cost of $800 per month and Ms. Jones has daycare expenses for the children in the amount of $1,200 per month. With these additional expenses, Mr. Smith would owe Ms. Jones $1,497 per month for child support. This support amount includes an upward deviation for childcare expenses that Ms. Jones incurs and a downward deviation for medical insurance which Mr. Smith provides. The calculation would be done as such, basic support (as calculated above) is $1,122 per month. Mr. Smith’s income is 62.5% and Ms. Jones’s income is 37.5% of the total combined household income and therefore, Ms. Jones is responsible for 37.5% of the $800 (or $300) and Mr. Smith is responsible for 62.5% of the $1,200 (or $675[note]This amount was calculated after taking into consideration the child tax care credit.[/note]) per month. Finally, basic support of $1,122 – $300 medical insurance + $675 daycare = $1,497 per month child support.
Deviations Based on Custodial Schedule
In addition to deviations in support for additional expenses, deviations can be given based on the parties’ custodial schedule. If the parties’ share custody and the non-custodial parent has more than 30% of the custodial time, then a deviation may be warranted. The calculation would be done as follows: If Mr. Smith has 50/50 custody of Mary and John, then his 62.5% of his share of the total household income is reduced by the additional 20% of the time he spends with the children. Therefore, reducing his percentage to 42.5%. As stated above, support for two children (with total incomes of $8,000) is $1,795 and 42.5% of $1,795 is $763 per month for basic support vs. the $1,122 calculated above without a shared custody deviation.
Some support calculations may seem simple but there are many factors to be considered and you should always contact a family law professional who can assist you with calculating the support you owe or are owed.
The members of the MacElree Harvey Family Law team possess the personal and professional skills necessary to help Delaware and Pennsylvania clients navigate the financial and emotional issues that often arise in Family Law cases.
If you have a Family Law matter and would like to schedule a consultation, please call (610) 436-0100.