Understanding Pennsylvania’s child support formula

Many in Lancaster may hope their divorces signify the end of their association with their spouses. However, those relationships often never truly end give that they still may have to continue to work together on certain matters, particularly if they have children together. One matter that must be coordinated is the payment of child support. Even in cases where both parents share custody of the children, some degree of child support is likely to be ordered (the exception would be those rare cases where both parents make the same income and spend the same amount of time with their kids). The U.S. Census Bureau reports that as recently as 2013, $32.9 billion was owed in child support in the country. Those who are preparing to contribute to that amount may want to have firm understanding of how the state determines their obligation.

First, the combined monthly income of both parents is determined. This includes income from salaries, property dealings, pensions and retirement funds, Social Security benefits and earned interest. The, certain deductions are calculated to come up with a net monthly income. According to the Pennsylvania Code, these deductions may include:

  •          Federal, state and local taxes
  •          Unemployment benefit taxes
  •          Social Security and other non-voluntary retirement payments
  •          Union dues
  •          Spousal and child support due to other parties

One’s child support obligation depends on how many children he or she had with his or her ex-spouse, as well as how much he or she contributes to the couple’s combined net income. For example, if one had three children with an ex-spouse, and the couple together made 4000 per month, the state’s child support schedule lists an obligation of $1479. If he or she contributes 75 percent of the couple’s income, his or her obligation would be $1109.25.

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