Divorce is always typically a stressful experience. We have found that many people who are considering divorce often base their decision not on what is best for them personally, but what is possible financially if they lose a spouse’s income. Facing a reduction in income only adds to the stress of making this major life decision. In our experience, the choice between financial security and knowing what is best for one’s life often leaves people without any other option but to stay married. Unfortunately, we have learned that many people do not understand that Pennsylvania law can provide a solution which can allows for financial stability whiling pursue a divorce by receiving a portion of your spouse’s income monthly that can even be direct deposited into your bank account.
During our consultations with prospective new clients, we do our best to reassure them that legal remedies exist to provide a person with financial security during a divorce. The law allows for a lower-earning spouse to obtain support through two separate legal concepts: spousal support and Alimony Pendente Lite (known as APL). Both spousal support and APL provide direct cash payments from one spouse to another, often through wage garnishments. Both options are similar to alimony, which is a number of periodic payments to a former spouse after a judicial decree has terminated the marriage. In contrast to alimony, spousal support and APL provide support during the divorce process. The purpose of both options is to equalize the parties' resources during a divorce so that no one party is left without sufficient income, hence relieving many people’s concern about losing their spouse’s income in a divorce.
The follow-up question we often hear is what amount of support a person expect to be awarded by the court if they were to hire an attorney and seek support. Typically, support orders are calculated by each party’s earning capacity. In calculating a party’s earning capacity, the court relies on a number of different factors to determine the amount of support to be awarded. It is important to note that when children are involved, both spousal support or APL awards are in addition to the amount of child support one can be awarded. When the courts calculate an APL or spousal support award in addition to child support, the APL or spousal support is typically reduced, as the amount of child support paid by the other parent reduces their earning capacity. Spousal support and APL both last for the duration of the divorce, which, on average, takes 6 to 10 months, per the national average.
We often find that, when we explain to prospective clients how spousal support and APL works, it provides a feeling of relief and empowerment. Simply knowing that these options exist for people who are considering a divorce often provides peace of mind. Once a person learns that money does not have to be a barrier preventing a person from making the decision that a divorce is their best option, we find that a sense of relief comes to them and they feel empowered knowing divorce does not have to be a choice between financial ruin and happiness.
In order to receive the maximum amount of support you are entitled to during your divorce, we recommend you schedule a complimentary consultation at our suburban Harrisburg office today where we will review your particular situation and provide answers to many of your questions. In addition to meeting us in person, we also offer virtual consultations using platforms such as Apple FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Duo for your convenience or to ease your concerns for personal safety during this COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to helping you determine if legal representation by our law firm is the right choice for you. Call us at 717-674-3861 to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation today.