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Support in Pennsylvania is determined by the state guidelines. The income of both parties is considered in determining what the correct amount of a support award should be. Therefore, it is imperative that both parties fully and accurately disclose their incomes. Additionally, under 23 Pa.C.S.A. §4353(a), the parties have an affirmative duty to report any changes in income after a support order has been established.
There are consequences for failing to disclose income or concealing changes in income. A party can petition for modification upon discovering that the other party misrepresented or concealed their income pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. §4352(e). The party must promptly file for modification once discovering the misrepresentation of the other parties’ income. Also, the moving party has the burden of proving a modification is warranted.
Further, the party can request that any modification in support be retroactive to the date the other party first began concealing or misrepresenting income. This is in contrast to the typical practice of allowing retroactivity only to the date of filing the modification petition.
In Maue v. Gilbert, 2003 PA Super 481 (2003), the mother filed for a modification of child support in 2000 after discovering the father had failed to report his significant increase in income. The court ordered, however, that the effective date of the modification reach back to 1996, when the father first began receiving higher income and failed to report it.
Accordingly, each party should be forthcoming with all relevant income when it comes to support as there will be no benefit for misrepresenting or concealing income.