By Attorney Alyssa H. Knisely, Child Support Attorney, Harrisburg, PA
I have had numerous clients ask me "what does child support cover?" That question normally arises because the obligor (person paying support) receives constant demands from the obligee (person receiving support) to pay for clothes, food, trips, school functions, clubs, sports equipment, fees for participation in extracurricular activities, and even haircuts, among many other things. But, that's what child support covers or is supposed to cover. Child support covers everything (must be reasonably necessary), except daycare costs, private tuition, summer camp, medical (health care) and mortgage. See Pa.R.Civ.P. 1910.16-6.
An obligor would have to pay their percentage portion of the combined net incomes for daycare. Their net income would take into account any taxes, union dues, health care premiums, child support, and spousal support/alimony pendete lite.
The obligee pays the first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses. The obligor/obligee then divide unreimbursed medical expenses based on percentages as before with daycare. Such medical expenses include insurance co-payments, deductibles, and all expenses paid for reasonably necessary medical services and supplies. They do not include cosmetic, chiropractic, psychiatric, psychological or other services unless specifically ordered by a court.
It's assumed in the support guidelines that the spouse occupying the home will be solely responsible for the expenses, real estate taxes, insurance, and mortgage payment. Further, there's no mortgage contribution to a spouse for a home that is not jointly owned as a marital residence. The "mortgage contribution" only comes into play if the home is jointly owned.
However, the court can order a contribution from one spouse if it's a marital residence. If the obligor occupies the home and the mortgage payment exceeds 25% of obligor's net income (net income is gross income less taxes, child support, APL, union dues); the obligor gets a downward adjustment in support payments. If the obligee occupies the home and the mortgage exceeds 25% of obligee's net income (add in APL/spousal support), then obligee may get an order for obligor to assume up to 50% of excess.
Private School, Summer Camp, or Other Needs
These types of considerations are not addressed by the support guidelines. Therefore, they are not part of child support. Only if these are reasonable, the expense may be allocated between the parties in proportion to their net incomes.
If you have questions regarding a child support obligation and whether or not it's reasonable, you may contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.