Spousal Support/Alimony Pendente Lite

In Pennsylvania, the phrase “spousal support” refers to payments made during a separation period before a divorce complaint is filed. “Alimony pendente lite” (APL) refers to support awarded after a divorce proceeding begins but before the divorce is finalized by decree. Support payments that begin after the final divorce decree are simply called “alimony.”  The distinction is rooted in the divorce filing, or sometimes the lack thereof.  Often, it makes no difference how you file for support; but sometimes, it can make a big difference depending on your circumstances which should be discussed with your attorney.

Spousal support and APL are often used interchangeably; but they are both payments made from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse.  The calculation is an income driven model wherein the court will determine your respective net income and what portion is determined owed to the lower earning spouse after the net income is calculated.  These calculations differ slightly depending on if the spousal support/APL claim is also filed with a child support complaint.  This is not a NEEDS analysis which means it does not matter what either side’s expenses are, the calculation is presumptively correct.  The guideline number for support is a rebuttable presumption, but it is rarely rebutted.  It can be important to know your obligation or entitlement before you move out or your spouse moves out so you can assess how support may impact cash flow.

Alimony, on the other hand, is a needs-based approach that is rooted and factored in the divorce code.  Please see the Division of Assets & Alimony tab for that information.

Both spousal support and APL can be a complicated issue, especially when one spouse is self-employed, or one spouse is unemployed and has an earning capacity, in cases of disability, or high-income cases, etc.  Even with uncomplicated income (i.e. W-2 income) there are considerations that need to be considered such as bonus income or payment for health insurance benefits, payment of the mortgage on the marital residence, or mandatory union dues and/or mandatory retirement obligations, etc.

There is a lot that is taken into account in calculating support correctly, and this is not an exhaustive list of issues, but just the beginning of the analysis.  The attorneys at Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman are experienced in the area of support and will thoroughly review all relevant issues to ensure the support amount in your case is fair and accurate.

Child Support

Child support are payments owed by one parent to another for purposes of covering the basic needs of the children.  You do not need to be married to pay or receive child support, only be the parent of the child(ren).  Child support can also be owed by parents to a third party who is caring for the child(ren).  The amount of child support is dependent on the parties’ incomes.  Child support is paid to the parent who has primary custody but can also apply where the parties have shared or 50/50 physical custody.  There are many nuances to support that can increase or decrease the payment.  The attorneys at Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman are here to review your situation thoroughly and provide assistance in calculating and obtaining the right child support payments that apply under your circumstances.

    If you have questions about spousal support/child support/alimony, or if you are in need of an attorney in Chester County, PA, contact us to schedule a consultation: