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231 Pa. Code Rule 1910.16-3.1. Support Guidelines. High-Income Cases.

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

 (a)  Child Support.

   (1)  Presumptive Minimum Basic Child Support Obligation.

     (i)   The presumptive minimum basic child support obligation is the support obligation that the trier-of-fact would have awarded if the parties’ combined monthly net income was $30,000.

     (ii)   When the parties’ combined monthly net income exceeds $30,000, the calculated support obligation shall not be less than the presumptive minimum basic child support obligation.

   (2)  High-Income Child Support Calculation. With the following three-step process, the trier-of-fact shall calculate the total child support obligation.

     (i)   Preliminary Analysis. Using the following formula, the trier-of-fact shall:

       (A)   calculate the basic child support obligation based on the parties’ combined monthly net income; and

       (B)   apportion the basic child support obligation based on the parties’ respective monthly net incomes.

One child:$3,608 + 4.0% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.
Two children:$4,250 + 4.0% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.
Three children:$4,951 + 4.7% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.
Four children:$5,530 + 5.3% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.
Five children:$6,083 + 5.8% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.
Six children:$6,613 + 6.3% of combined monthly net income above $30,000.

     (ii)   Substantial or Equally Shared Custody Adjustment. The trier-of-fact shall adjust the basic child support obligation calculated in subdivision (a)(2)(i) for substantial or equally shared custody as set forth in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-4(c).

     (iii)   Final Analysis—Reasonable Needs.

       (A)   In determining the total child support obligation, the trier-of-fact shall consider the child’s reasonable needs based on:

         (I)   the deviation factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5;

         (II)   the additional expenses set forth in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-6; and

         (III)   the parties’ expense statements required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.11(c)(2) and Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.27(c)(2)(B).

       (B)   Subject to the presumptive minimum basic child support obligation, the trier-of-fact may upwardly or downwardly adjust the support obligation calculated in subdivisions (a)(2)(i) and (ii) based on the child’s reasonable needs.

   (3)  Final Order. As part of the final order, the trier-of-fact shall state on the record or in writing:

     (i)   findings of fact; and

     (ii)   the reasons for awarding the total child support obligation, including:

       (A)   a discussion of the child’s reasonable needs; and

       (B)   the adjustments or deviations made to the basic child support obligation.

 (b)  Spousal Support or Alimony Pendente Lite.

   (1)  Preliminary Analysis. When 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 (a)(2)(Part IV) in calculating spousal support or alimony pendente lite.

   (2)  Final Analysis. In determining the total spousal support or alimony pendente lite obligation, the trier-of-fact shall consider:

     (i)   the deviation factors in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-5;

     (ii)   the additional expenses set forth in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.16-6; and

     (iii)   the parties’ expense statements required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.11(c)(2) and Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.27(c)(2)(B).

   (3)  Final Order. As part of the final order, the trier-of-fact shall state on the record or in writing:

     (i)   findings of fact; and

     (ii)   the reasons for awarding the final spousal support or alimony pendente lite obligation, including the adjustments or deviations made to the basic spousal support or alimony pendente lite obligation.

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; amended August 17, 2021, effective January 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 5539. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (395621) to (395622).



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