Rule 1910.16-7. Support Guidelines. Awards of Child Support When There are Multiple Families.

 (a)  When the total of the obligor’s basic child support obligations equals 50% or less of his or her monthly net income, there will be no deviation from the guideline amount of support on the ground of the existence of a new family.

  Example: If the obligor requests a reduction of support for one child of the first marriage on the basis that there is a new child of the second intact marriage, and the relevant monthly net incomes are $2,500 for the obligor, $500 for the former spouse and $1,300 for the current spouse, then the request for a reduction will be denied because the total support obligation of $1,153 ($584 for the first child and $569 for the second child) is less than half of the obligor’s monthly net income.

 (b)  When the total of the obligor’s basic support obligations exceeds 50% of his or her monthly net income, the court may consider a proportional reduction of these obligations. Since, however, the goal of the guidelines is to treat each child equitably, a first or later family shall not receive preference, and the court shall not divide the guideline amount for all of the obligor’s children among the households in which those children live.

  Example 1. The obligor is sued for support of an out of wedlock child. The obligor is already paying support for two children of the first marriage, and has an intact second marriage with one child. The relevant monthly net incomes are $3,800 for the obligor, $1,100 for the former spouse, $0 for the current spouse and $1,500 for the parent of the new child. The obligor’s basic support obligations to each family are $1,097 for the two children of the first marriage, $862 for the one child of the second marriage, and $727 for the one child out of wedlock for a total support obligation of $2,686. Since the total of these obligations exceeds 50% of the obligor’s monthly net income of $3,800 per month, the court may consider a proportional reduction of all of the orders.

  Example 2. The obligor is sued for support of three children of a second marriage. There is already an order in effect for two children of the first marriage. The relevant monthly net incomes are $1,600 for the obligor, $0 for the first spouse and $500 for the second spouse. The obligor’s basic support obligations to each family are $555 for the two children of the first marriage and $641 for the three children of the second marriage for a total support obligation of $1,196. Since this total obligation leaves the obligor with only $404 on which to live, the orders are too high as the obligor must be left with a Self-Support Reserve of $981. However, reducing the order for three children while leaving the existing order intact would give preference to the first family, contrary to the rule. Therefore, both orders must be reduced proportionally.

  Example 3. The obligor is sued by three obligees to establish orders for three children. The monthly net income for the obligor and for each obligee is $1,500. The court would determine that the obligor’s basic support obligation for each child is $352 for a total obligation of $1,056 for three children. It would be incorrect to determine the guideline amount for three children, in this case $1,189, and then divide that amount among the three children. Due to the total support amount exceeding 50% of the obligor’s monthly net income, the support orders should be reduced proportionately consistent with subdivision (b) and ensure the obligor retains the Self-Support Reserve of $981 consistent with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-2(e).

 (c)  For purposes of this rule, the presumptive amount of the obligor’s basic support obligation is calculated using only the basic guideline amounts of support, as determined from the formula in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4, and does not include any additional expenses that may be added to these amounts pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-6. In calculating the presumptive amount of the obligor’s basic support obligation, the court should ensure that the obligor retains at least $981 per month consistent with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-2(e).

  Example 1. Assume that the obligor is paying $566 per month support for one child of the first marriage, plus an additional $200 per month for child care expenses. The obligor requests a reduction in this support obligation on the basis that there is one new child of the second intact marriage. The relevant incomes are $2,400 for the obligor and $0 for both the former and current spouses. The obligor’s request for a reduction should be denied because the total of the basic guideline obligations for both children is only $1,132 ($566 for each child) and does not exceed 50% of the obligor’s monthly net income. A reduction should not be given on the basis that the obligor’s contribution to child care expenses for the first child results in an overall support obligation of $1,332 which exceeds 50% of the obligor’s monthly net income. Thus, the presumptive amount of basic support for the two children is still $1,132 ($566 for each child). The court must then consider the deviation factors under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5 and the parties’ respective contributions to additional expenses under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-6 in arriving at an appropriate amount of total support for each child.

  

   Example 2. Assume that the obligor is paying $360 per month support for one child of the first marriage. The obligor has one new child of the second intact marriage. The relevant incomes are $1,500 for the obligor and $0 for the former and current spouses. A reduction should not be given on the basis of the obligor’s new child because the total of the basic guideline obligations for both children is only $720 ($360 for each child) and this amount does not exceed 50% of the obligor’s monthly net income. Since, however, this amount leaves the obligor with only $780 per month, the court should proportionally reduce the support obligations so that the obligor retains $981 per month. Thus, the presumptive amount of basic support for the two children is $519 ($259.50 for each child). The court must then consider the deviation factors under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5 and the parties’ respective contributions to additional expenses under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-6 in arriving at an appropriate amount of total support for each child.

Explanatory Comment—2010

   Rule 1910.16-7 has been amended to reflect the updated schedule in Rule 1910.16-3 and the increase in the Self-Support Reserve to $867 per month, the 2008 federal poverty level for one person. The distribution priorities formerly in subdivision (d) have been moved to Rule 1910.17(d) to clarify that these priorities apply to all support orders, not just those involving multiple families.

Explanatory Comment—2013

   Rule 1910.16-7 has been amended to reflect the updated schedule in Rule 1910.16-3 and the increase in the Self-Support Reserve to $931 per month, the 2012 federal poverty level for one person.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1910.16-7 adopted December 7, 1998, effective April 1, 1999, 28 Pa.B. 6162; amended October 30, 2001, effective immediately, 31 Pa.B. 6273; amended October 31, 2002, effective immediately, 32 Pa.B. 5632; amended September 27, 2005, effective 4 months from the date of this order, 35 Pa.B. 5643; amended August 13, 2008, effective October 12, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 4736; amended January 12, 2010, effective May 12, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 586; amended April 9, 2013, effective August 9, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 2272; amended September 25, 2014, effective in 30 days on October 25, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 6553; amended February 10, 2017, effective May 1, 2017, 47 Pa.B. 1123. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (384522) to (384525).



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