Jul 21, 2021
The Mortgage Adjustment in the Child Support Calculation
Debbie Y. Schneider, Esquire, Attorney-Mediator at Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation discusses.
The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines contain a provision known as the Mortgage Adjustment. The guidelines assume that the spouse occupying the marital residence will be solely responsible for all of the mortgage payments, real estate taxes and the homeowners’ insurance. For my clients in mediation at the ALPHA CENTER FOR DIVORCE MEDIATION, my first question to the spouse that wants to keep the house is, “Can you afford it?”
But the mortgage adjustment provision allows for deviations from that premise. The mortgage adjustment works like this:
- If one party, referred to here as the obligee, is staying in the marital home, and they will be solely responsible for the mortgage or mortgages, real estate taxes and the insurance on the home, AND the total monthly amount of these three expenses exceeds 25% of the net income (including amounts of spousal support, alimony pendente lite and child support), of the obligee, then the other spouse, referred to here as the obligor, might be required to assume up to 50% of the excess amount as part of the total support amount.
It also works the other way:
- If the obligor is occupying the marital home, and the aforementioned payments exceed 25% of the obligor’s monthly net income (less any amount of spousal, alimony pendente lite and child support the obligor is paying), the obligor’s support amount can be adjusted downward. The guideline does not specify how much the reduction might be, and this is where the budgets for the spouses play a significant role in the mediations done at the ALPHA CENTER. Budgets are important tools for fairness, but the mortgage adjustment can provide additional guidance and help to parties in their divorce.