Adjustments to Basic Support

Support in Pennsylvania is calculated based on a statewide guideline amount. Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 1910.16-6 outlines potential adjustments to a basic support obligation. Reasonable child care expenses paid by either parent can be added to a support calculation. The additional cost is then allocated between the parties in proportion to their income. Most additional expenses will be similarly divided among the parties based on their net income. Health insurance premiums on behalf of the other party and/or children can be included. Further, the portion of the premium attributable to the party paying it can also be allocated as long as a duty of support is owed to that party. Unreimbursed medical expenses are also covered. The first $250 is built into the calculations such that the party receiving support is expected to cover it. Expenses over $250 are split by the parties based on their relative amount of income. Expenses include co-pays, deductibles, dental and optical services as well as orthodontia. Expenses that are usually excluded include chiropractic, cosmetic and psychiatric/psychological services.

Private school tuition and summer camp may also be included in a support award if the court deems the expenses reasonable and necessary. Parties usually need to agree on private school in order for the tuition to be shared through a support award. Mortgage payments are the final category of potential adjustments. This provision only applies for a marital residence where only one of the parties continues to reside there. If the mortgage payment exceeds 25% of the net income of the party residing there, there may be a deviation resulting in an increase in support if the residing party is receiving support or a decrease in support if the paying party is residing there. The term “mortgage payments” is inclusive of all real estate taxes and homeowners insurances. At the court’s discretion, it may also include second mortgages, home equity lines and other obligations secured during the marriage secured by the marital residence.

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