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.