How is the support amount determined?

In Pennsylvania, the amount of support that an individual is required to pay is governed by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure as set forth by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. From this net income amount as calculated by the Court, a mathematical formula is applied which takes into account both the parents' incomes and the amounts specified by the Supreme Court as the cost associated with providing support for a child. The determination of support has nothing to do with whether the Conference Officer, Hearing Officer, or Judge likes or dislikes someone, it is a purely mathematical process. There is a grid established based on the parents incomes, number of children and parenting time.

How Support is Calculated

Generally, support is calculated by taking your gross (pre-tax) income and subtracting only the following items:

  • The cost of health insurance which is paid for the persons covered by the support order.
  • Mandatory federal, state and local taxes (in their proper amounts; not as withheld on the pay check);
  • Mandatory retirement deductions (not 401-k deductions);
  • Union dues (and in some cases, other mandatory work-related expenses);

Additional Support

In addition to the amount of monthly support, an individual may also be required to contribute a share of any child care, medical, educational or other expenses incurred by the custodial parent for the child in addition to the support amount.

Show All Answers

1. What is support and who may receive it?
2. How do I file for support?
3. What if there is a Protection From Abuse order against the person from whom I am seeking support?
4. How is the support amount determined?
5. How paternity is established and why is it important?
6. What must I do if I receive an Order to appear for a support conference or hearing?
7. Where do I go for support conferences or hearings?
8. Do I have to appear for my support hearing if I live outside of Washington County, Pennsylvania?
9. What are the rules to participate by phone and how do I request to do this?
10. What will happen if I don’t appear for a conference or hearing before the Court?
11. What happens at a support conference?
12. What happens at a support hearing?
13. How do I file exceptions?
14. What are my obligations if I receive public assistance benefits?
15. What are my obligations while I have an active support case?
16. How do I change my support order?
17. What do I do if I am paying spousal support and a divorce is granted?
18. What do I do if one of the children who I pay support for turns 18 and graduates high school?
19. What is PACSES?
20. How do I pay my support?
21. What do I do if I cannot pay my support?
22. What type of enforcement actions may be taken if I don't pay my support?
23. What if my driver's license is suspended for failure to pay support?
24. What is SCDU and how do I obtain information concerning payments?
25. How do I collect unreimbursed medical expenses under my order of support?
26. What is the PACSES IVR and how do I use it?