Support in Pennsylvania is calculated pursuant to a formula, which we call “guidelines”. These guidelines apply only when the net monthly income of husband and wife is $20,000.00 or less and there are 6 or less children. These guidelines consider the income of the husband and wife ONLY. One’s expenses are not considered in calculating a support obligation, unless one has what the law considers an “extraordinary expense”, which is outside the contemplation of the guidelines. In addition to the support amount, other expenses such as child care, and medical expenses, for example, are not part of the guidelines but are shared by the parties in addition to the support amount. Support is never a permanent order. It is always modifiable if there is a change of circumstances which would warrant either an increase or a decrease.
HIGH END SUPPORT:
If the net monthly income of both Husband and Wife combined exceeds $20,000.00, the guidelines do not apply in the calculation of both child support and alimony. Rather, a case called Melzer v. Witsberger applies. This case says that in these types of support/alimony cases, the dependent party must prove their actual and reasonable monthly need and this will be the amount of support/alimony.
I cannot emphasize strongly enough that your selection of counsel in these types of cases will by critical. One should only look to very experienced family law counsel to represent you in these types of high end matters. The pitfalls are many and un less your attorney has experience with this particular sub-specialty, you could be very disappointed with the results.
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