Alimony and Spousal Support
Harrisburg Divorce & Spousal Support Attorneys
Pennsylvania law approaches alimony issues in a distinctive way. We're just about the only state that uses guidelines to calculate payments for spousal support (in cases of separation prior to divorce) or alimony pendente lite (for support between the Divorce Complaint and decree). Final alimony, that is, the continuing support obligations from one spouse to another, is somewhat rare these days as the first generation of full-time working women approaches retirement.
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You'll need an accurate understanding of your rights and responsibilities on spousal support or alimony issues in any situation where the divorcing spouses have unequal incomes or earning power.
To find out how these issues are likely to play out in your case, and to take advantage of any opportunity to resolve them in your favor, contact our experienced Harrisburg divorce attorneys at Scaringi Law. Also serving clients in Newport, Carlise, and all of Central Pennsylvania.
Both spousal support and alimony pendente lite (APL) are determined, to some degree, according to guidelines in the same support conference that determines child support. First, you identify each spouse's net monthly income. Then the spouse with the higher income pays a certain percent of the difference to the other spouse if there's no child support obligation. If child support will be involved, you subtract the amount of the child support payment from the difference between spousal incomes, and pay or receive a certain percent of the difference as APL.
Unless, of course, your alimony attorney convinces the support conference officer that you should pay or receive a different amount. For example, on a spousal support question during separation, there might be so-called entitlement issues - if the financially weaker spouse's infidelity or other misconduct led to the breakup of the marriage, the other spouse can argue a lack of entitlement to support. It's important to keep in mind that entitlement issues do not apply after the filing of a divorce petition.
On any support or alimony issue, we'll treat the guidelines figure as a starting point from which we can argue for a monthly amount that more accurately reflects your need or ability to pay. In final alimony negotiations to determine payments that will apply after the divorce is final, the guidelines no longer apply. The result will more closely reflect each spouse's practical circumstances in light of factors such as the property division settlement, the terms of any prenuptial agreement, or the tax implications of the overall divorce settlement.
The Harrisburg divorce lawyers of Scaringi Law, can advise you about the legal, financial and practical considerations that will affect your interests on alimony and spousal support issues. Contact us in Harrisburg, Newport or Carlisle for a free consultation about your options.