In a divorce, sometimes one spouse is left at a financial disadvantage. For instance, if one spouse had stayed at home for years while the other pursued a career, the homemaker may be lacking in experience or the proper skills to get a job in today’s market. And once the couple is divorced, the homemaker may not be living in the same economic standards that he/she is used to. Spousal support, more commonly known as alimony, is intended to provide financial support to your former spouse until adequate employment can be attained.
At Kalinoski Law Offices P.C., we provide customized and comprehensive legal guidance regarding the establishment of spousal support. Whether you are seeking financial support from a former partner or protecting yourself from being ordered to pay too much, our Scranton family law attorney has the knowledge to assist you in reaching a fair resolution efficiently and cost-effectively.
What is Spousal Support?
In Pennsylvania, spousal support refers to the financial support provided to a spouse after a legal separation and prior to the filing of a divorce complaint. Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is a form of spousal support that one party can receive prior to the issuance of a final divorce decree. Alimony is a form of financial payments to the spouse after a final divorce decree is entered by the court.
In Pennsylvania, a party seeking alimony must successfully petition the court to receive alimony prior to a divorce decree being entered.
The Factors Surrounding Spousal Support
Alimony is based on a number of factors, including the earning capacities of both parties:
- The length of your marriage
- Your income and the income of your spouse
- Age and physical health, especially as pertaining to employability
- The quality of life you and your spouse enjoyed while married
- Current employment and skills
We will carefully evaluate all assets, debts and other factors to develop a spousal maintenance agreement that is fair and in the best interests of you and your children.
In addition to an initial spousal support order, we represent parents seeking modification of support when there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances. Also, if a party is failing to fulfill his or her financial obligations in this area, we can petition the court to enforce the court order through wage garnishment or some other means.
Changes in Spousal Support Guidelines
In January 2019, changes were made to spousal support guidelines. The biggest change is in the way Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) and alimony is determined. Under new guidelines, APL and alimony will no longer receive special tax treatment as they had in the past, meaning, the payor of alimony cannot use the payment as a tax deduction. However, as long as alimony agreements were made prior to 2019, they can still receive these benefits unless modifications are made.
The second major change related to the way “extras” are factored into alimony. Extras can include medical expenses, child care, and educational needs. Those receiving payment from a former spouse may now be required to pay more. But again, tax benefits enjoyed by the payor will remain intact if it is a pre-2019 agreement.
Need assistance understanding how 2019 spousal support changes will impact you?
Our family law practice offers a free initial consultation in which our knowledgeable Scranton child support attorney can review your situation and recommend the best course of action. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation by calling (570) 207-4000.