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Spousal support in Pennsylvania: before the divorce decree

Going through a divorce is often a stress-filled, turbulent experience. If your spouse is the sole bread winner or earns considerably more than you do, you may be worried about where a divorce will leave you financially.

When a couple gets divorced in Pennsylvania, the lower earning spouse typically has rights to receive regular payments from the higher earning spouse to help support them at their pre-divorce standard of living. Many people know this form of payment as alimony.

In actuality, there are three distinct types of spousal payment that come into play when a couple parts ways, and it's worth understanding the difference:

· Spousal support-payment from the time of separation until the divorce is filed

· Alimony pendente lite-payment from the time the divorce is filed until the final divorce decree is issued

· Alimony-payment after the divorce is finalized

In this article, we examine the method of determining payment for spousal support and alimony pendente lite. Under Pennsylvania law, the following formula is used for calculating support in these scenarios:

If there are no dependent children:

· Take the support payee's monthly net income.

· Subtract the support recipient's monthly net income.

· Take this difference and multiply by 40 percent.

If there are dependent children:

· Take the support payee's monthly net income.

· Subtract the support recipient's monthly net income.

· Take this difference and subtract the support payee's child support payments.

· Take this difference and multiply by 30 percent.

The court applies a different set of rules for regular alimony payments. We examine this scenario in a separate post.

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