Lump sum inheritance payments can constitute income in a judge’scalculation of child support orders, the Superior Court has ruled in anapparent case of first impression.

The decision not only expands the definition of “income” in thePennsylvania Domestic Relations Code, but it also gives trial courtjudges more leeway in coming up with their own interpretations of thedefinition, rather than sticking strictly to its meaning.But it’s the Superior Court opinion, not the definition, that is morelikely to keep trial court judges awake at night grappling withinterpretations.The en banc court split 4-1-4 and the 30-page opinion produced by themajority, concurring judges and dissenters in Humphreys v.DeRoss, PICS Case No. 99-1632 (Pa. Super. Aug. 18, 1999) Hudock, J.;Joyce, J., concurring; Eakin, Del Sole, Musmanno & Orie Melvin, JJ.,dissenting; McEwen, P.J., concurring (30 pages), offers differingperspectives from almost every possible angle.

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