One of the biggest concerns of people confronting divorce or separation is the issue of support. If you are the dependent spouse, will you be able to support yourself during the divorce proceedings? What about after your divorce? Will the court recognize your contribution to the marriage if it cannot necessarily be measured in dollars? If you are the income-earning spouse, will you be assessed a reasonable support obligation to your spouse? Will you be “punished” for being a working spouse or parent? Will the non-working spouse be required to shoulder his or her share of the burden? What tax issues will you face, either as the recipient or payor of support?
A court determination that one spouse pay support, or alimony pendente lite (alimony pending resolution of the divorce), does not depend on the sex of the parties. In some cases, the award of support may turn on whether one spouse is at “fault” for the impending divorce, but once a divorce is filed, alimony pendente lite is awarded without regard to who, if anyone, is at fault. While the court will not typically award support where spouses remain living together, it may award alimonypendente lite. The duty to provide health insurance is considered a component of a support obligation. The absolute amount of support will depend on a determination of the income of each spouse, and all sources of income are considered. In some cases, the court will examine a spouse’sability to earn an income, rather than that person’s actual income, where the person is willfully unemployed or underemployed.
Upon separation, you will have many questions, but your immediate concern may be continued financial support, either for yourself or as payment to your spouse. Additional questions arise if one of you resides out of, or has left, the state. While the law strives to preserve the standard of living of both parties, when two households must exist where there previously was one, preserving the lifestyle enjoyed prior to separation may not be possible. Your receipt or payment of support may be a simple matter, readily negotiated and determined, or litigation may be required where there exist complex issues of income earned by professionals or closely held businesses. In either case, you may rely on our expertise to guide you through the process efficiently and with an eye toward your ultimate cost/benefit.
To learn more about what Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby can do to resolve your family legal situation, contact us online or call our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 412-261-4040.