Divorces can be very expensive. Even if both parties minimize costs, separating can result in significant expenses for each of them. They are unable to rely on another’s assistance or income. The situation becomes even more problematic when either children are involved or one spouse is dependent on another spouse’s income. Pennsylvania has laws to correct these circumstances.
As an attorney specialized in Pennsylvania family law, Lauren D’Alessandro understands the various aspects of these provisions and the negotiating tactics necessary to obtain or defend against one of these support remedies. Lauren has negotiated numerous family law orders and will use that experience to assist you. Contact her to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward financial stability during and after your divorce.
Child support is a monthly payment a parent makes to cover the costs of caring for a child. The parent who has the child for the majority of the time usually receives the child support payments. The reason payment goes towards the parent spending the most time caring for the child is there is an assumption they are spending more money raising that child. These payments continue until the child is 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later.
Pennsylvania has guidelines to help determine the amount of child support a parent will receive. The guidelines consider factors such as the number of children and the income of each parent. There is some leeway in the calculation, however, such as permitting courts to consider the reasonable needs of the child. Attorneys can help in determining the likely payment amount and whether a situation exists such that a court could deviate from the calculation and increase or decrease the payment.
Spousal support is a temporary financial support paid to a dependent spouse after they separate but before a divorce is filed. As with child support, guidelines exist in Pennsylvania to determine the payment. Unlike with child support, though, there are defenses — such as adultery — that a spouse can use to prevent a dependent spouse from obtaining spousal support. Consult with an attorney to determine if spousal support is right for you or, if you are the non-dependent spouse, whether any defenses are possible.
Alimony pendente lite means alimony pending litigation. The support request is made by a dependent spouse after a divorce decree is filed and lasts until the divorce is final. The guidelines for calculating the payment amount are similar to the spousal support calculation. The difference is that there are significantly fewer defenses to alimony pendente lite. Adultery, for example, will not be a defense to one of these claims. A spouse cannot request both spousal support and alimony pendente lite at the same time.
Alimony is support that is paid after a divorce is final. Unlike the other forms of support, alimony is a secondary remedy of equitable distribution and is discretionary. This means not only can the distribution of marital assets affect a potential alimony award, but a judge is not even required to grant alimony.
When alimony is granted, the award is to fulfill one of three purposes:
Rehabilitative alimony provides regular income to a dependent former spouse to obtain skills necessary to obtain employment.
Compensatory alimony compensates a former spouse for their contribution to the education or training of the other spouse if there are insufficient resources available to do so during equitable distribution. Additionally, a compensatory purpose can be found in order to compensate a spouse for their contributions in the marriage and there are insufficient resources available to do so during equitable distribution.
Permanent alimony provides lifelong income to a former dependent spouse who will always be unable to support themselves following the divorce. Alimony for this purpose is rarely used.
The amount of alimony awarded is based upon the reasonable needs in accordance with the lifestyle and standard of living established by the parties during marriage, as well as the payor’s ability to pay. Pennsylvania courts have a list of seventeen factors they use in making that determination. An attorney can help you determine whether alimony is possible for your case and, if so, how to best obtain an award.
Regardless of the area of family law you are litigating, hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in family law is crucial. Attorney Lauren D’Alessandro represents clients in Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Her office is located in Newtown and she invites you to contact her to schedule a consultation. You can contact her here. She looks forward to hearing from you!