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Monday, February 26, 2018

How Much is Spousal Support?

How Much Will I Have to Pay in Spousal Support?

If you are facing divorce, you need to know what your financial picture will be. You cannot make wise financial decisions, such as renting or buying an apartment or house if you do not know how much disposable income you will have. If you anticipate that you will have to pay alimony (also called maintenance or spousal support), you should do yourself a favor and speak with a skilled divorce lawyer about your particular circumstances.

Presumed Amount of Spousal Support

Pennsylvania courts use guidelines to calculate a presumed amount of spousal support. The courts take the position that the guideline-calculated amount is correct. If a party wants to deviate from that amount, he or she must rebut that presumption by establishing that the presumed amount would be unjust or inappropriate due to the special needs, obligations, or other considerations of the parties.

No Double-Dipping

The court cannot order you to pay both temporary alimony (alimony pendent lite) and spousal support at the same time. Only one order can be in effect at a time. Alimony pendent lite is support the court orders while the divorce is pending, and spousal support is the support you pay pursuant to the divorce decree.

How to Calculate Spousal Support Using the Guidelines in Pennsylvania

The person who has to pay spousal support is the “obligor.” The person who receives spousal support is the “obligee.” The Pennsylvania courts use the same equations to calculate alimony pendent lite (APL) and spousal support, but they use one formula for couples with dependent children and a different one for people without dependent children.

With Dependent Children

  • Start with the obligor’s monthly net income. The guidelines define net income as gross income minus paycheck deductions, converted to a monthly amount.
  • Subtract child support, spousal support or APL the obligor has the obligation to pay for children or previous spouses who are not parties to this action.
  • From that number, deduct the obligee’s monthly net income.
  • Then, subtract the obligor’s total monthly child support obligation in this case (without an adjustment for Part II substantial or shared custody).
  • Multiply that number by 30 percent to get the presumed amount of monthly APL or spousal support – for cases with dependent children.

Without Dependent Children

  • Again, start with the obligor’s monthly net income.
  • Subtract child support, spousal support or APL the obligor has the obligation to pay for children or previous spouses who are not parties to this action.
  • From that number, deduct the obligee’s monthly net income.
  • Multiple that number by 40 percent to reach the preliminary amount of monthly APL or spousal support.
  • Make adjustments for other expenses from Rule 1910.16-6. These expenses can include child care expenses; health insurance premiums; unreimbursed medical expenses; private school tuition, summer camp, or other needs; and the mortgage payment of the marital residence (including first and subsequent mortgages, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, home equity loans, and other marital financial obligations secured by the marital residence).
  • The sum after the adjustments will be the monthly APL or spousal support amount in cases without dependent children.

Spousal support can add up to a lot of money within just a few years. You should talk with a Pennsylvania divorce lawyer to protect your rights, so you do not get stuck with paying more than your fair share. Give us a call today to set up a consultation with a Pennsylvania family law attorney today.


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