In most cases, our Conferences Officers are able to make a recommendation that is acceptable to both the plaintiff and defendant. In the course of your conference, your income and extraordinary expenses will be reviewed. Based on the facts given at that time, the amount of support to be paid/received will be recommended. If both parties agree to this recommendation, an agreement will be prepared and signed immediately, with instructions given for method of payment. This agreement will become an Order of Court after it is reviewed and signed by a Judge.
However, in those cases where an agreement cannot be reached, the Conference Officer, within 10 working days, will prepare a Proposed Order of Support and send it to the parties and their respective attorneys. Either party then has 20 days to file a written Request for a Hearing before our Master. A fee is charged. Once the Request is filed, the Proposed Order of Support becomes an Interim Order and support payments should begin immediately. If a defendant is employed, an Income Attachment will also begin immediately. If a Master's Hearing is not demanded, a final order will be entered in the amount of the Proposed Order of Support. A demand for a Master's Hearing must be filed with 20 days at the DRS Docket Office and a Master's Hearing will be scheduled.
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Support is based on the party's average monthly (net) income for the prior 6 months, calculated by subtracting from the gross income:
Other entitlements to money or lump sum awards, without regard to source, including lottery winnings, income tax refunds, insurance compensation or settlement; awards and verdicts and any form of payment due to and collectible by an individual regardless of source.
Other factors which may affect the calculation:
If paternity needs to be established, the Petition will be referred to the Paternity Support Officer for further action. If paternity is not an issue, your action will be scheduled for a support conference before a Conference Officer.
At the conference, the Conference Officer will review the guideline calculation with you. These guidelines consider ordinary or normal expenditures, so that such expenses are not discussed during the conference, nor are they used to modify the guideline amounts.
No. If a Defendant quits his/her job or assumes a lower paying job, there generally will be no reduction or suspension granted. Also, no adjustment will be made in support payments for normal fluctuations in earnings. However, appropriate adjustments will be made for substantial continuing, involuntary decreases in income, such as unemployment.
No. In deciding whether to deviate from the amount of support determined by the guidelines, the DRS, in order to avoid an unjust or inappropriate award, will consider only the following factors:
Either party or both parties can be ordered to provide medical insurance for the children it is available at a reasonable cost either through their employment or a private carrier.
Expenses, such as mortgage payments, are already factored into the formula. The law assumes that the spouse occupying the marital residence will pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Unreimbursed medical expenses of the obligee or the children shall be allocated between the parties in proportion to their respective net income. The Court may direct the obligor to pay his or her share either to the obligee or directly to the health care provider.
A special rule applies if your Order is dated on or after April 1, 1999. In those case, only annual medical expenses in excess of $250 per person, will be allocated in proportion to the parties net incomes. An annual limitation may be imposed when the burden on the obligor would otherwise be excessive. Medical expenses include insurance co-payments and deductibles and all expenses incurred for reasonably necessary medical services and supplies, including but not limited to surgical, dental and optical services, and orthodontia. Medical expenses do not include cosmetic, chiropractic, psychiatric or psychological services, unless specifically directed in the Order of Court. Refer to the Medical Support Enforcement Guide for further information.
Reasonable child care expenses paid by the custodial parent, if necessary to maintain employment or appropriate education in pursuit of income, are the responsibility of both parents. These expenses shall be allocated between the parties in proportion to their net incomes and obligor's share added to his or her basic obligation.
The Court may divide the cost, proportionately, between the parties, in light of the fact of the particular case.
23 Pa.C.SA4237 does not require parents to provide postsecondary (college) education to their adult children as this requirement violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Curtis v. Kline, 542 Pa.Super.249: 666 A2d 265 (1995). Absent a privately negotiated agreement between the parties, an obligation to provide college support is not a consideration that will be assessed by the Domestic Relations Section.