Understanding the requirements and rules surrounding spousal support in Pennsylvania can leave you scratching your head if you aren’t familiar with court guidelines. While many states use the words spousal support and alimony as if they were the same thing, they are very different in Pennsylvania. In most places, alimony and spousal support refer to a spouse's payments after the divorce is finalized. Pennsylvania law considers payments made during separation as spousal support, and alimony refers to payments rendered after the divorce is finalized. Child support payments are those made to provide for the care of minor children after a divorce is finalized. Each of these payment types represent a court order. You are legally responsible for these financial payments.
Family Court Ordered Financial Payments in Pennsylvania
Depending on your divorce's timing, the state of Pennsylvania will issue one of three types of financial support if applicable. The court can also order child support payments to cover the expenses of any minor children shared in the marriage.
There are three types of financial support in Pennsylvania:
- Spousal Support: Financial support made during the time between the separation and the finalized divorce.
- Alimony: Payments made after the divorce has been finalized.
- Alimony Pendente Lite: These payments are similar to spousal support payments in that they occur after separation, but they are also made after divorce proceedings have started.
- Child Support: Payments made to the custodial parent to provide minor children with the benefit of both parent’s income.
Pennsylvania law allows for modifications of alimony payments if a person’s financial situation has changed. Modifications to court ordered payments require a legal petition, which we discuss here.
Modifications are becoming more important as COVID-19 has rendered many families with substantially changed financial situations. This unprecedented pandemic has put countless child support and alimony payments in jeopardy. With so many families in the state impacted by this situation, we are left to wait to see how the legal system might respond to these issues. One thing is clear, if the court addresses your alimony or child support payments during this time, you could need the assistance of a family lawyer who can familiarize themselves with the details of your case and make petitions on your behalf.
A Family Lawyer Ready to Help Navigate Your Legal Woes
Don’t wait for the situation to resolve itself. If you cannot meet the obligations of your alimony or child support payments, legal representation could benefit your situation. At William Kirby, Family Law Attorney, we can explain your case and help you understand any COVID-19 changes to your alimony and child support payments.
At William Kirby, Family Lawyer we are standing by ready to advise you about options to address your financial hardship. Call us at (215) 515-9901 for help working through the details of your case.