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 amount of support calculated pursuant to this three-step process shall not be less than the amount of support that would have been awarded if the parties combined monthly net income was $30,000. The calculated amount shall be the presumptive minimum amount of support.
(1) First, the following formula shall be applied as a preliminary analysis in calculating the amount of basic child support to be 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) And second, the trier of fact shall apply Part II and Part III of the formula at Rule 1910.16-4(a), making any applicable adjustments for substantial or shared custody pursuant to Rule 1910.16-4(c) and allocations of additional expenses pursuant to Rule 1910.16-6;
(3) Then, third, the trier of fact shall consider the factors in Rule 1910.16-5 in making a final child support award and shall make findings of fact on the record or in writing. After considering all of the factors in Rule 1910.16-5, the trier of fact may adjust the amount calculated pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (2) above upward or downward, 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 Part IV of Rule 1910.16-4(a) as a preliminary analysis in calculating spousal support or alimony pendente lite. In determining the amount and duration of the final spousal support or alimony pendente lite award, the trier of fact shall consider the factors in Rule 1910.16-5 and shall make findings of fact on the record or in writing.
New Rule 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, 505 Pa. 462, 480 A.2d 991 (1984). Economic data supports the amounts in the basic child support schedule up to combined net incomes of $30,000 per month. Above that amount, economic data is not readily available. Thus, for cases in which the parties combined net monthly income is above $30,000, the formula first applies a fixed percentage to calculate the amount of support. The formula is an extrapolation of the available economic data to higher income cases. Spousal support and alimony pendente lite awards in high income cases are preliminarily calculated pursuant to the formula in Part IV of Rule 1910.16-4(a). However, in both high income child support and spousal support/alimony pendente lite cases, the trier of fact is required to consider the factors in Rule 1910.16-5 before entering a final order and to make findings of fact on the record or in writing. Pursuant to Rule 1910.11(c)(2), in all high income cases, the parties must submit an Income Statement and the Expense Statement at Rule 1910.27(c)(2)(B) to enable the trier of fact to consider the factors in Rule 1910.16-5.
The rule has been amended to clarify that the provisions of Rule 1910.16-4(c), regarding adjustments to support when the obligor has substantial or shared custody, apply in high income cases. Previously, when high income cases were decided pursuant to Melzer v. Witsberger, 505 Pa. 462, 480 A.2d 991 (1984), case law held that because the time and resources each parent provided to a child were factored into the Melzer formula, the reductions for substantial or shared parenting time 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 reductions for substantial or shared parenting time in such cases is no longer applicable.
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. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (366529) to (366530).
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