Income for Support

Each party’s monthly income is evaluated for the purposes of determining an appropriate support order. Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure dictate that each party’s monthly gross income based on at least a six-month window should be ascertained first. For purposes of support gross income includes all wages or salary, bonuses, commissions, business income, rental property income, pension or retirement payments, royalties and dividends, and income from an estate or trust, social security disability and retirement benefits, disability benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation and alimony. It also includes any other entitlement to money or lump sum awards such as lottery winnings, tax refunds, insurance compensation, settlements, awards or verdicts.

For income that is not received on a regular basis, it may be appropriate to average out the income over the course of a year. This may be applicable in the context of a bonus or other one time payment. Each party has an obligation to report any changes income after the establishment of a support order. Failure to timely report changes income can result in any subsequent modification of the support award being retroactive to the time of the failure to disclose. After identifying the gross income of the parties, the Rules then allow the following deductions to arrive at net income: federal, state, and local taxes, unemployment compensation taxes and local services taxes, FICA payments, non-voluntary retirement contributions, mandatory union dues and alimony paid to the other party.

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