Can you increase child support if your ex makes more?
The courts use the Pennsylvania child support formula to calculate child support obligations. When a parent has a change in their income, the other parent may wonder if it’s grounds for a child support increase. In Pennsylvania, the court may change a parent’s child support obligation because the parent makes more money than they did at the time of the last court order.
Support changes because of income changes
Child support awards are based on the needs of the child and the resources of the parents. The court may consider the entire circumstances when determining what monthly amount to order. Generally, support awards in Pennsylvania are set by a formula. The paying parent receives a calculated offset for the time they spend with the children. In general, the court sets the amount that the parent pays based on the parent’s gross income minus deductions, plus allowances for medical care and child care.
The law allows for a modification of support because of a change in circumstances. A change in circumstances can be a raise. When a parent is aware that the other parent has more income, they may ask for an increase because of a raise. If the court agrees, they may recalculate the amount and change support accordingly.
How to raise support because of a raise
To increase support because of a raise, the parent files a court motion. They fill out a form. The court schedules a conference on the matter. A parent may have the help of a divorce lawyer to assist them in the process of asking for a change in the amount of the order.
The court may ask for proof of income. The court may increase the amount because of a significant change in income. Minor changes are not sufficient. The court can account for seasonal income and even commissions, tips and bonuses. When a parent is self-employed, there are allowable deductions for business expenses. The court may look at detailed information in order to arrive at a true net income that represents the funds that a parent has available to pay support.
Reporting a raise to the court
If a parent has a change in income, they are required to report it to the court within seven days. A parent may ask the court for a hearing if they suspect an income change even if the other parent does not make a timely report. The amount ordered is due each month until the court changes the order. In order to have a change in support, the parent must initiate a review of their case by filing the appropriate motion.
Periodic review of child support
Even if there is no known change in income, a parent may request a review of child support every three years. If it has been three years, the court may conduct a review upon request. During the review, the court ensures that incomes are calculated appropriately and that costs like health insurance and child care are updated. A divorce lawyer may assist a party with presenting information to the court.
Support awards for high incomes
If parents have a combined income over $30,000 per month, an increase in parent earnings may not increase a child support award. There are a number of reasons that the court may deviate from the amount recommended by the child support formula. When parents have an especially high income, it may be grounds for a deviation. The court looks at all of the relevant circumstances including the income of the parents.
Legal assistance for child support if ex makes more money
If you suspect that your ex is making more money, you may qualify for an increase in support payments. But you must take action. Our legal team can help. If you suspect that your ex is making more money, contact the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner at (215) 886-1266 to see how you might increase child support.