Rule 1910.16-3.1. Support Guidelines. High-Income Cases.

 (a)  Child Support Formula. If the parties’ combined monthly net income exceeds $30,000, the following three-step process shall be applied to calculate the parties’ respective child support obligations. The support amount calculated pursuant to this three-step process shall not be less than the support amount that would have been awarded if the parties’ combined monthly net income was $30,000. The calculated amount is the presumptive minimum support amount.

   (1)  The following formula shall be applied as a preliminary analysis in calculating the basic child support amount apportioned between the parties according to their respective monthly net incomes:

     One child: $2,839 + 8.6% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.

     Two children: $3,902 + 11.8% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.

     Three children: $4,365 + 12.9% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.

     Four children: $4,824 + 14.6% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.

     Five children: $5,306 + 16.1% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.

     Six children: $5,768 + 17.5% of combined monthly net income above $30,000;

   (2)  The trier-of-fact shall apply the formulas in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4(a)(1)(Part D) and (Part E) or (2)(Part II) and (Part III), adjusting for substantial or shared custody pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4(c) and allocating additional expenses pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-6, as appropriate;

   (3)  The trier-of-fact shall consider the factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5 in making a final child support award and shall make findings of fact on the record or in writing. After considering the factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5, the trier-of-fact may adjust the amount calculated pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (2), subject to the presumptive minimum.

 (b)  Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite. In cases in which the parties’ combined monthly net income exceeds $30,000, the trier-of-fact shall apply the formula in either Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4(a)(1)(Part B) or (2)(Part IV) as a preliminary analysis in calculating spousal support or alimony pendente lite. In determining the final spousal support or alimony pendente lite amount and duration, the trier-of-fact shall consider the factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5 and shall make findings of fact on the record or in writing.

Explanatory Comment—2010

   Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-3.1 is intended to bring all child support cases under the guidelines and treat similarly situated parties similarly. Thus, high-income child support cases no longer will be decided pursuant to Melzer v. Witsberger, 480 A.2d 991 (Pa. 1984). Economic data support the basic child support schedule up to combined net incomes of $30,000 per month. Above that amount, economic data are not readily available. Thus, for cases in which the parties’ combined monthly net income is above $30,000, the formula first applies a fixed percentage to calculate the support amount. The formula is an extrapolation of the available economic data to high-income cases. Spousal support and alimony pendente lite awards in high-income cases are preliminarily calculated pursuant to the formulas in either Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4(a)(1)(Part B) or (2)(Part IV). However, in both high-income child support and spousal support and high-income child support and alimony pendente lite cases, the trier-of-fact is required to consider the factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5 before entering a final order and to make findings of fact on the record or in writing. Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.11(c)(2), in all high-income cases, the parties must submit an Income Statement and the Expense Statement at Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.27(c)(2)(B) to enable the trier-of-fact to consider the factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5.

Explanatory Comment—2011

   The rule has been amended to clarify that the provisions of Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4(c), regarding support adjustments if the obligor has substantial or shared custody, apply in high-income cases. Previously, when high-income cases were decided pursuant to Melzer v. Witsberger, 480 A.2d 991 (Pa. 1984), case law held that because the time and resources each parent provided to a child were factored into the Melzer formula, the substantial or shared parenting time reductions did not apply to cases decided pursuant to Melzer. See, e.g., Sirio v. Sirio, 951 A.2d 1188 (Pa. Super. 2008); Bulgarelli v. Bulgarelli, 934 A.2d 107 (Pa. Super. 2007). As Melzer no longer applies to calculate support in high-income cases, the prohibition against substantial or shared parenting time reductions in such cases is no longer applicable.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 1910.16-3.1 adopted January 12, 2010, effective May 12, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 586; amended August 26, 2011, effective September 30, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 4851; amended April 9, 2013, effective August 9, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 2272; amended February 10, 2017, effective May 1, 2017, 47 Pa.B. 1123; amended December 28, 2018, effective January 1, 2019, 49 Pa.B. 170. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (386489) to (386490).



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