A divorce brings with it many topics to consider, some of which may cause worry and confusion to those involved. One of those common topics is spousal support. Whether you may worry that you will not receive the support you need or that you will owe your spouse a hefty amount of money each month, the topic can be daunting, and understandably so. Because of the financial burden that may come out of spousal support during a divorce, we highly recommend that you lean on an experienced divorce attorney who has the knowledge to guide you through the process and achieve the best outcome for you and your family.

Another way to help lessen the worry that may be associated with spousal support is to educate yourself. Once you know what it is, how it differs from other types of support, and what you can expect, you may feel more prepared to tackle it during the divorce process. To aid you in learning about spousal support, we collected some of the top questions and answers below:

  • What is spousal support?
    Spousal support is based upon the legal relationship between spouses and is temporary financial support paid to a spouse after a separation but before a divorce decree has been entered. A court will review each case’s particular circumstances to determine the amount of the support, if the guidelines require a deviation, additional expenses for which support should be awarded, and defenses to claims for support.
  • How does spousal support differ from alimony and alimony pendente lite?
    Either an award of spousal support or alimony pendente lite may be in effect during the divorce proceeding but both cannot be awarded at the same time. An alimony award is payable after the divorce has concluded and a divorce decree has been entered. The purpose of spousal support is to provide for the care, maintenance, and financial assistance of the financially dependent spouse while alimony pendente lite also assists the financially dependent spouse with the legal costs of the divorce process. Alimony provides for the reasonable needs of a spouse after the divorce if that spouse cannot meet their reasonable needs through employment.
  • How long does spousal support last?
    Spousal support can last until the divorce decree has been entered. 

RELATED: Read about the top divorce questions answered.

  • How is spousal support determined?
    The determination of spousal support is made by taking the difference in the net incomes of the parties and multiplying that figure by a certain percentage as provided for in the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. The spouse earning more would pay a percentage of the difference in incomes to the other spouse per the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. Of course, many factors go into the determination of what net income or earning capacity a party actually has, and what net income a court will presume a party could be, or should be, earning. Learn more about net incomes for spousal support.

Spousal support can be a topic of worry for many going through a divorce, but it is important to know that it does not have to lead to financial ruin. You can rely on our lawyers’ knowledge and reputation to secure the resolution of your divorce-related issues, including support, by agreement with your spouse or through litigation in the courts. Our lawyers have the experience to advise you on which course will resolve your divorce in the best manner possible, always in accord with the outcomes most important to you.

If you are divorcing and have concerns about support, the attorneys of Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby can provide the guidance and representation you need. To consult with one of our divorce attorneys, contact us online or call us at 412-261-4040.

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