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Normally, spousal or child support and alimony pendent lite (APL), increases or decreases are calculated in a final support order and use retroactive to the date of the filing of spousal or child support to APL the petition requests or an increase or decrease in a support. However, the following words may change this general rule:

“Parties must within seven days inform the domestic relations section and the other parties, in writing, of any material change in circumstances relevant to the level of support or the administration of the support order, including, but not limited to, loss or change of income or employment and change of personal address or change of address of any child receiving support. A party who willfully fails to report a material change in circumstances may be adjudged in contempt of court, and may be fined or imprisoned 11

These words are typed on every support order that is filed by Chester County Domestic Relations. These words are very important.

The Pennsylvania Appellate Courts have held on occasion that if one party or both parties do not inform both Domestic Relations and the other party in writing of a change in income or conceals actual increases in income, the support arrearage calculations may be made retroactive not to the date of the filing of the complaint or petition to increase or decrease support but may be retroactive to the date when the offending party failed to report the first increase or change in his/her income.

This retroactivity to the date of increase in income can result in a substantial support arrearage. The lack of reporting in writing could create an arrearage for the economically dependent spouse.

If you find yourself in the above circumstances, consult a knowledgeable family law attorney immediately for guidance. Linda L. MacElree (Lynn) has substantial experience in settling and litigating complex support matters which includes filing for increases or decreases in spousal and child support and APL.

© Copyright Linda L. MacElree 2013