Last August, in Pennsylvania new Child Support Guidelines went into effect. High income families whose combined net monthly income exceeds $30,000 per month should be aware of how the changes in the new guidelines could affect their monthly child support.
The Child Support Guidelines established a minimum amount of support for one child at $30,000 per month. For every dollar a family earns over the $30,000 threshold, a percentage is used to calculate the additional support for the child each month. For example, under the old guidelines, child support for two children for a family whose net monthly income is $50,000 is $5,377 [calculated $3,777 + 8% of $20,000]. Effective August 9, 2013, this same scenario yields a total child support of $6,156 [calculated $3,836 + 11.6% of $20,000].
The new guidelines also eliminated two exceptions to support reductions for situations where one parent has substantial or shared custody of a child(ren). The new guidelines do not change the method of calculation of spousal support or alimony pendente lite (temporary alimony during the divorce proceeding before the divorce is finalized).
Revisions to the guidelines do not represent an automatic change in circumstance. Rather, they are a ground for either parent to file a Petition to Modify Support. If there are no unusual circumstances, any modification of a support order will only be effective retroactive to the date of filing of the request.
For families whose combined net monthly income is $30,000 per month or less, the change in the amount of monthly support for minor children is negligible. In most cases, the monthly amount of support will increase $20.00 per month and in some cases, the amount of support will decrease $4.00-5.00 per month. Because the change is so minor under the $30,000 threshold, it is probably not worth seeking a modification.
If your income is over $30,000 net per month, then you should file for a modification as soon as possible since the modification request is retroactive to the date of filing.