Pennsylvania has recently made considerable changes and revisions to the support section of the Rules of Civil Procedure; some are more significant than others, but one which may make things a little easier for parties and counsel alike is the revision to Rule 1910.11 which goes into effect January 31, 2012.
Rule 1910.11 will make it a requisite that all support conferences result in a guideline calculation. Specifically, it states that the parties “must provide income information” so that the conference officer can perform a guideline calculation. The only exception is where the parties are represented by counsel and have reached an agreement about the amount of support and contribution to additional expenses; otherwise, everyone else gets a support calculation.
The result of this change is that unrepresented parties and attorneys will have more information to help them understand the support obligation and how it was arrived at by the conference officer. This will also provide valuable information for attorneys who are not involved in the case until after the initial support conference; having a support calculation and basic income information will result in a more complete Domestic Relations Office file and, by extension, allow attorneys and their clients to be better prepared for the next step of the process (which may vary depending on practices of each county).
Though not a major overhaul of the rules or as nuanced as some of the other revisions we have seen over the past year, this revision may have the most day-to-day impact on litigants and attorneys.