Pennsylvania’s New Support Guidelines

Pennsylvania has adopted new child support guidelines and made certain changes to the support rules, effective May 1, 2017. As is the usual pattern with such changes, the guidelines and the support obligations they create are being changed only in incremental ways. That is not to say, of course, that incremental changes are not felt by those on both sides of a support case. Both the one paying support and the one receiving support may indeed feel the effect of the new guidelines, if their case is reviewed and subjected to the new rules.

The change to the rules and guidelines does not, by itself, subject every case to review or adjustment. The change to the guidelines in and of itself, however, is a sufficient change in circumstances such that either party to a support action may ask for the case to be reviewed and for the obligation to be adjusted. What has not changed about the support rules is that it does not matter which party brought the action to court, or what his/her expectations and desires were in so doing, the support court is charged with entering the order appropriate to the facts presented. Accordingly, taking an existing support case back to court because new guidelines have been issued may result in more changes than just an incremental adjustment under the new guidelines.

Beyond the incremental changes in the guidelines and to the calculations, the other rule changes adopted and effective on the first of May are, for the most part, changes in the language and in the way the rules are written. It appears to be an effort to make the rules more “consumer friendly,” and it is certainly a worthy goal to eliminate legalese and make the rules easier to read and to understand by those the effect most.

While the new changes, on their own, are not likely to make dramatic changes to anyone’s support order, those who are either paying or receiving support, particularly if the amount was calculated directly from the Pennsylvania statewide support guidelines, may want to look at the new guidelines to see if they warrant making a change to the case. Even more, anyone considering seeking a change to a support action should contact an experienced family law attorney to review all the circumstances of the case in light of the new law and guidelines.

To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys or for further information, call us at the Law Office of Gregory P. LaMonaca, P.C., at (610) 892-3877.

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About the author

About Lawrence Welsh

A funny thing happened to Larry (Lawrence C. Welsh) on the way to his professional career in the practice of law. After graduating from college and before entering law school, he took an extended tour through the hospitality industry, working his way through both the service and business sides of hotels, restaurants and resorts in six states and the District of Columbia. Taking the business acumen and the ever-watchful attention to detail so well-honed during that experience into his lifelong passion to practice law has led Larry to his position as Chief Legal Counsel and head of the firm’s Forensic Support Team. Before joining the firm, Larry worked in the public defender’s office, through which he added an array of advocacy skills and trial experience to his resume. Since joining the firm in 2003, Larry has handled a full range of family law issues, which he continues to do, while lending experience and direction to others in the firm, particularly where and when the resources of the Forensic Support Team are most appropriate. Larry is also licensed in New Jersey, and he leads the firm’s New Jersey team operations. Larry is a multi-year “Top Lawyer” honoree in Main Line Today magazine, and he has been named as an “Awesome/Top Attorney” for family law and divorce in Suburban Life Magazine. Larry is an active member of the bar associations and family law sections of Delaware County, Chester County, and the state of Pennsylvania.