Among other stresses involved in a Pennsylvania divorce, the financial stress can weigh heavily on a spouse – especially if the spouses make different incomes, or if one spouse takes on full custody of all children. The common remedy for this financial stress during the separation and divorce process is spousal support.
Spousal support is essentially an allowance from one spouse to another to continue the standard of living established during the marriage while the separation and divorce are taking place. This is separate from alimony, which is the payment of such support after the divorce decree has been issued. When the financial strain of the divorce is too much and your spouse is withholding monetary support, and an experienced divorce lawyer in Chester County can help you obtain the spousal support you need.
Chester County Spousal Support Lawyer
Dividing two lives is a complicated, expensive process. Add in life’s everyday expenses and additional financial arrangements may be necessary. The experienced and compassionate family law attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices can help you file a spousal support claim during your separation or divorce, or fight a claim you believe is unwarranted. We will work as a team towards the most favorable long-term solution for you.
Call (610) 692-8700 or send an online message for a free consultation so we can act as soon as possible. We are based in West Chester PA and serve clients throughout Chester County, Lancaster County and suburban Philadelphia including West Chester, Kennett Square, Oxford, Avondale, Landenberg, West Grove, Paoli, Malvern, Downingtown, Coatesville, Exton, Parkesburg, Berwyn and Devon. We have convenient meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor. Our family lawyers serve those with immediate legal needs in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
Pennsylvania Spousal Support Information Center
- Eligibility for PA Spousal Support
- Calculating Monthly Spousal Support Payments
- Common Scenarios for Spousal Support Ineligibility
Eligibility for PA Spousal Support
When spouses are living separated and apart before a divorce or are in the middle of the terminating the marriage, either spouse is eligible for spousal assistance if he or she is unable to maintain the same quality of life or take care of the same expenses that would be sufficiently met if both spouses were still maintaining one household. Specifically, in legal terms, spousal support is the financial support occurring before divorce proceedings, and alimony pendente lite is aid granted amid divorce proceedings.
Under Pennsylvania law, spouses must support one another in the life they have established while married until they are divorced. This is particularly true if one spouse has full physical custody of their child or children. Generally, payments are made from the spouse that made all or most of the family income to the spouse who made less money or has a lower earning capacity – such as a housewife. Many cases of divorce involve spousal payments or alimony pendente lite agreements that are reached amicably outside of the court by both parties.
However, according to 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 3701-3707, the court can rule for one spouse to pay support if it deems it is necessary. Circumstances in which a court may rule for spousal support can include one spouse deserting the other and refusing or neglecting to provide any monetary support, or the leaving spouse neglecting to provide sufficient financial aid.
Calculating Monthly Spousal Support Payments
The intent of spousal support in Chester County and elsewhere in Pennsylvania is to stabilize the financial situation for both parties until the divorce decree is issued. There is no set period of time that this must be paid, though payment after divorce is considered alimony, and the period of payment may be shortened if the parties were married for only a short while.
There is, however, a set of state guidelines the court considers when determining the amount of assistance awarded:
- If child support is involved, 30% of the difference in net income or earning capacity
- If child support is not involved, 40% the difference in net income or earning capacity
- Any such percentage of the difference that will help cover living expenses of the spouse with the reduced income or earning capacity
These payments can be obtained retroactively from the first day of neglect. If you are suffering due to your spouse’s lack of financial assistance or believe your spouse is asking for too much, consult with an experienced West Chester divorce attorney from our firm today.
Common Scenarios for Spousal Support Ineligibility
In a situation where spouses are living separately as a part of a no-fault agreement to divorce, spousal support can be necessary and fair. However, a spouse may be ineligible if he or she is found to have committed certain actions that count as a fault ground. If a new boyfriend or girlfriend moves in, for instance, the other spouse is not required to support that person and therefore can legally withdraw spousal support.
The following situations are fault grounds in Pennsylvania for which the court may rule against spousal support:
- Indignities or humiliation
- Physical abuse
- Emotional or mental abuse
Using an Attorney for an Alimony Pendente Lite Filing in Chester County
If you are overwhelmed with expenses due to your ex-husband or ex-wife’s lack of support, contact the experienced legal team at Ciccarelli Law Offices today. We will work with you to fight for the spousal support or alimony pendente lite ruling that is favorable in your West Chester, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, or Radnor divorce case. Call us at (610) 692-8700 to schedule your free consultation.