What Is Spousal Support Or Alimony Pendente Lite
In Pennsylvania, spousal support and alimony pendente light are extremely similar terms. In the state, spousal support and APL are the types of payments made from one spouse to the other before the divorce is final. In other words, they are temporary payments made during the separation period from one spouse to the other.
However, there are some differences between spousal support and APL. To start, APL is only available as a remedy after a divorce proceeding has commenced. By contrast, spousal support is available when a couple is merely separated prior to the commencement of the divorce proceedings. Furthermore, claims for pre-divorce spousal support are subject to more defenses including an entitlement defense based on fault grounds for divorce.
Resolving Alimony Without Litigation
Its true that divorce or separation is an emotional process and sometimes too complex to settle on your own. That is why there are alimony laws in PA to guide these processes and provide the necessary remedies. Yet, it would greatly benefit the soon-to-be ex-spouses if they would work out the process by themselves.
Negotiations between spouses mean that spouses take charge of the various issues, including alimony, and agree to terms that are equitable to both of them. Involving attorneys and taking the matter to court often drags out the process, and both spouses often have to pay hefty attorney and legal fees.
When Alimony Is Not Granted
The court will assess if one spouse has a demonstrated financial need and if the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. Alimony is generally awarded in cases where the spouses have unequal earning power and have been married a long time. Alimony may not be granted for a variety of reasons including a lack of financial need, adultery took place by the spouse requesting alimony, or the couple has only been married briefly.
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How Is Spousal Support Calculated In Pa
If the court decides to issue an order for spousal support, the amount of the payments will be calculated by using a mathematical formula.
- The difference in the parties net incomes is multiplied by 30%, if there is already a child support order in place
- The difference in the parties net incomes is multiplied by 40%, if there is no child support order currently in place
- The resulting number is the amount that the higher-earning spouse will be ordered to pay
There are also some other factors that a court might consider in deciding whether a specific case requires the court to deviate from this formula As you can see, even in the simplest form calculating spousal support can be extremely confusing. If you have any questions about spousal support, the experienced divorce attorneys at Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C. can help.Contact us today.
Alimony Pendente Lite
As with spousal support, if the court decides to grant APL it will determine the amount by using a mathematical calculation based on fixed percentages and the net incomes of the parties. Unlike for spousal support, however, claiming that your financially dependent spouse cheated on you will not get you out of paying. Acts that constitute a fault-based ground for divorce cannot be used as a defense to paying APL. If you have any questions about whether APL is a possibility in your case, we can help.Contact us today.
About Alimony in Pennsylvania
Alimony In Pennsylvania: Your Complete Guide
Alimony payments can be a source of contention for many couples, which contributes to the turmoil that most people feel during a divorce. One spouse often feels entitled to financial support, while the other prefers not to part with their hard-earned cash, or to support someone that they are no longer married to. Therefore, the process of qualifying for and receiving alimony is frequently misunderstood by both parties.
In Pennsylvania, there are some clear rules about how alimony payments should be handled. While judges are making a decision about whom will qualify, there are a few grey areas for judges. However, many of the standards are already set in stone. If you have been wondering how to proceed with requesting alimony payments or how to avoid paying them, you need to know how the state handles this type of support.
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Enforcement Of Support Arrearages
Any time the obligor is in arrears in the payment of spousal support, the domestic relations section will notify the court. That court shall order a hearing, after which it may take the following actions to ensure payment of the arrearages:
- Enter a judgment
- Attach no more than half of the obligors wages
- Award interest on pending payments
- Require the provision of security to insure future support payments
- Award counsel costs and fees
The court can also issue attachment proceedings, addressed to the sheriff or any other relevant officer of the county, directing that the named individual has failed to comply with a court order and should be presented to the court at such time as the court may order.
If the court establishes, after the hearing, that the named individual willfully defied the court order, it shall likely find the individual in civil contempt of court. In its discretion, the court shall make an appropriate order, including handing the individual a jail term not exceeding six months.
Spousal Support And Alimony Pendente Lite
Spousal support and alimony pendente are intended to allow a lower income spouse to afford living expenses and legal representation during separation. Although both spousal support and alimony pendente lite refer to regular payments made before a divorce is final, there are significant differences.
Spousal support is requested by the lower income spouse before the divorce is initiated. This means you can request spousal support if youve left an abusive situation or if your spouse has moved out. However, your spousal support claim can be denied if you have provided grounds for divorce. This denial is called an entitlement defense and means any spouse who is abusive or has committed adultery can be denied spousal support benefits because they are not entitled to support.
Alimony pendente lite is awarded only after a divorce has been initiated. There is no entitlement defense for alimony pendente lite. You can request alimony pendente lite even if youve provided grounds for the divorce.
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Alimony Pendente Lite In The Interim
While the divorce and spousal support agreements are being finalized, the receiving spouse is entitled to financial support in the interim. This is referred to as alimony pendente lite. It begins when the divorce is filed and ends with the divorce being legitimized.
Unlike alimony, there is a strict method for calculating this temporary form of spousal support. The formula used in the state of Pennsylvania states that the receiving spouse must receive 40 percent of the difference between the spouses net incomes on a monthly basis. If the couple has children, the formula is altered to 30 percent of the net income difference. This is due to the fact that the parent paying spousal support is likely paying child support as well.
How Much Money Can Spousal Support Provide
The amount of spousal support a divorcing spouse can request or expect is based on the circumstances and facts of that particular situation. These facts are then applied to a statewide formula used for calculating spousal support. Essentially, spousal support and APL are calculated as 40% of the difference between the payors net monthly income and the recipients net monthly income. This variation of the formula is applied when there are no dependent children present. If dependent children have been awarded child support payments, then the income differential is reduced by the amount of child support, and the result is multiplied by 30 percent. In practice, spousal support and child support payments are often combined into an unallocated support order.
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Pa Family Law Questions Of The Week: Alimony Pendente Lite
Your Western PA Family Lawyers bring you some important information about PA alimony:
If you have spoken to a friend or coworker who went through a divorce in Pennsylvania, you may have heard the term alimony pendente lite or APL. Read further to understand the basics of APL, why it is an important form of spousal support, when it applies, and how to speak to a family law attorney about this type of alimony.
What is Alimony Pendente Lite?
Alimony Pendente Lite, or APL, is a type of spousal support granted prior to the entering of the PA divorce decree. The purpose of APL is to allow the lower earning party to have money made available to them during the trial. Pendente Lite is a Latin phrase meaning pending the litigation and thats exactly what APL is, support during litigation. APL allows the parties to a divorce to support themselves during the divorce process, and also ensures that the parties can seek an attorney of their choosing throughout their divorce.
When should you seek APL?
In general, spousal support begins when a spouse formally files for support. This can happen even before the divorce is pending. APL, a special form of spousal support in Pennsylvania, begins after divorce has been filed, and when one spouse requests support.
How is APL different from other types of Alimony in Pennsylvania?
While there are entitlement defenses to spousal support in Pennsylvania, no entitlement defenses exist for APL.
Speak to a Divorce Lawyer about APL
When Does Alimony End
There is no specific law on the books in Pennsylvania to determine alimony length. This is another subjective ruling based on a number of factors brought up in court.
A rule of thumb of one year of alimony for every three years of marriage is commonly referred to. However, this is just a rough estimate and subject to legal consideration.
The objective of alimony is to buy time for the receiving spouse to gain financial independence. For some, this means going back to school or seeking professional training.
For others, it means securing a job and working their way up the corporate ladder. The length of alimony is going to be a subjective decision from the judge. The judge will assess the various factors in an attempt to predict when this independence will occur.
Certain life changes have an impact on alimony length. Alimony payments terminate if the receiving spouse gets remarried. Another termination event is if the receiving spouse moves in with a member of the opposite sex.
Death is another obvious trigger for alimony to terminate. However, the court could order payments to continue if the paying spouse dies.
There are conditions in which a court orders alimony payments to be permanent. A common example of this is when the receiving spouse is disabled and unable to pursue a job.
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The 17 Alimony Factors In Pennsylvania
Its important to keep in mind that despite all the factors laid out to simplify alimony award decisions made by courts, Pennsylvania laws do not automatically entitle either party to alimony. Courts will evaluate the following factors when deciding the type, duration, and amount of post-divorce alimony:
- Relative earning capacity of each spouse
- Age, physical and mental health of each spouse
- Inheritances of each spouse
- Contribution to spouses education
- Children: whether earning capacity of the custodial parent is affected
- Standard of living during marriage
- Employment and education opportunities
- Property brought to the marriage
- Liabilities and assets
- Contribution as a homemaker during marriage
- The needs of both spouses
- Tax effects of the alimony award
- Whether the supported spouse has property to meet financial needs
- Whether the supported spouse is capable of becoming self-supporting through employement
What Factors Do Family Courts Consider When Calculating Child Support
Pennsylvania family courts consider four factors when calculating child support:
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How Are Debts And Assets Divided Up In Pa
After the divorce complaint is filed, either party can ask the court to divide the marital assets and debts. The court must divide the marital assets and debts in a fair manner. Marital assets include most items acquired during the marriage even if the item is listed on the title or deed as belonging to only one spouse. If one spouse owned real estate before the marriage, and it has increased in value during the marriage, the increase in value is a marital asset which the court must consider.
In dividing the marital assets and debts, the court considers many factors including but not limited to: the length of the marriage the needs of each party the age, health, and income of each party who will have primary custody of the children and the contribution of each party to acquiring and improving the marital property . In dividing the marital assists and debts, the court does not consider marital misconduct before the separation.
The law is very complicated concerning the division of marital assets and debts. Make sure you talk with an attorney before you make any assumptions about how these items should be divided.
Warning: If a divorce becomes final before you formally in writing request the court for property distribution, you may lose your right to obtain it.
Spousal Support In Pennsylvania: What You Need To Know
When most individuals think of payments made from one spouse to another in connection with divorce proceedings, most immediately think of the term alimony. Alimony is one form of spousal support in Pennsylvania however, there are also two others, spousal support and alimony pendente lite. Which one a dependent spouse receives depends upon which stage the parties are at in their Pennsylvania divorce proceedings.
The first type, , is the support that the dependent spouse can expect to receive commencing on the date of separation and lasting until either party files a divorce complaint. The amount of spousal support to be paid is determined by a formula set forth in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. The amount of support to be paid is determined by taking the net income of the obligor minus the net income of the obligee . The award is 40% of the difference between the two incomes. For example, if the obligor nets $6,000 per month and the oblige nets $3,000 per month, the guideline amount of spousal support awarded to the lower-earning spouse would be $1,200 per month .
To learn more about the types of support in Pennsylvania or if you have questions about support you may be entitled to or obligated to pay, contact the experienced support attorney at McMorrow Law LLC today at .
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Pa Child Support Modification And Enforcement
When there is a substantial change in circumstances for either parent, child support may be modified. If you need to modify an existing child support order, we can assist you with the proper filings and represent you in modification hearings. We also represent parents seeking child support enforcement actions. When a parent fails to meet a child support obligation, we help the receiving parent pursue the legal recourse that may be available to help them collect the child support they are owed.
How Much Is Alimony In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania considers support for a spouse or child a priority responsibility. Therefore, a party is expected to pay their alimony or support obligations by reducing other expenses. Alimony is typically calculated on a case-by-case basis by the family court judge assigned to the case.
The basic alimony, spousal support, or alimony pendente lite obligation is often calculated using the parties’ average monthly net incomes. Monthly net income is calculated by adding up an individuals income for 6 months and then dividing the total by 6.
Per Chapter 23 Section 4302 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Status, income refers to all money received by an individual from any source, including but not limited to:
- Salaries, bonuses, and commissions
- Social security or disability insurance
- Lottery winnings
If a party paying alimony is a foster parent or receives payments from a public or private agency to care for a child. Such payments must be excluded from the party’s monthly net income when the calculation is done.
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What Is Alimony In Pennsylvania
Under the laws of the state of Pennsylvania, alimony is defined as post-divorce periodic payments to a spouse. These payments are ordered or agreed to as part of a settlement agreement and do not commence until the end of the marriage.
In Pennsylvania, no hard guidelines that dictate the exact amount of alimony that should be paid exist. Rather, the Pennsylvania state legislature has set forth in 23 Pa.C.S. 3701 17 subjective factors a court may consider when deciding alimony issues. Some of the factors deemed relevant to an alimony determination include:
- The relative earnings of the parties.
- The relative earning capacity of the parties.
- The age and health of the divorcing parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- Contributions to education or training by one party to the other.
- Assets and liabilities of the parties.
- The needs of the parties.
These factors are used by a court to determine the amount, if any, of an alimony award. Since they are extremely subjective in nature, strong counsel who can present evidence and argue persuasively on your behalf is essential.