Support While Your Divorce is Pending
Alimony may be awarded to a spouse in need of financial assistance in meeting living expenses after a divorce. But Pennsylvania law also recognizes the right of some spouses to receive financial support prior to the divorce being filed or while it is ongoing.
There are two types of support that can be ordered prior to a divorce becoming final. One type is spousal support, which is paid by one spouse to the other after the parties have separated but before a petition for divorce is actually filed. The other type is alimony pendente lite, which is paid after a divorce is filed but before the proceedings are completed.
Both spousal support and alimony pendente lite are meant to provide “care, maintenance and financial assistance” for a spouse who may be economically dependent on the other. In most cases, these types of support will be awarded where there are substantial differences between the spouses’ income levels. The amount of spousal support or alimony pendente lite awarded is often calculated according to the Pennsylvania State Support Guidelines. Proof of the spouses’ relative resources and needs is used to calculate the award.
Note that awards of spousal support or alimony pendente lite are not subject to the analysis that determines eligibility for alimony after a divorce. That analysis looks at such factors as the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage and the spouses’ educations and earning capacities. These factors are not considered for pre-judgment awards.
If you are separating from your spouse or considering divorce and you believe you may need financial assistance, or if you are concerned you may be ordered to pay support, you should talk with an experienced attorney as quickly as possible to better understand your rights.
At The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney, P.C., we can walk you through your options for support, discussing what evidence might be required and the method of calculating support amounts. To arrange a consultation at our Yardley, Pennsylvania office, call 215.493.3360 or contact us online.