Why You Need Susan Gibson as Your Alimony & Spousal Support Lawyer
Helping you remain financially stable during your transition
Whether you have children or not, you have many needs satisfied by your current household income. Your spousal support lawyer ensures you don't compromise your standard of living after divorce.
Here's how alimony attorney Susan Gibson helps your case:
She'll Determine Your Amount of Financial Support
Pennsylvania has specific laws used to determine spousal support and alimony. You need to know Pennsylvania family law inside and out to negotiate a fair payment.
A spousal support attorney makes sure the court considers everything.
She'll Draft & File All Necessary Paperwork
You'll need to collect information about your own income as well as your spouse's financial situation. The court may not award you appropriate alimony payments if you leave anything out.
Susan Gibson handles all the legal issues while you focus on your family.
She'll Handle All Aspects of Your Case
When you go to a divorce attorney, you need someone who handles more than the divorce proceeding. You need an advocate who guides you through the entire process, including issues like alimony, spousal support, child custody, child support, and more.
Gibson Family Law, PLLC is a spousal support law firm that helps with all areas of family law.
Alimony Pendente Lite/Spousal Support/Alimony
There are multiple types of financial support you might receive throughout separation and divorce.
Alimony Pendente Lite
In Pennsylvania, Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is a type of financial support ordered after initially filing divorce paperwork but before the actual divorce decree. APL allows a lower-earning spouse to access funds before and during the divorce proceeding.
Alimony is financial support paid after the divorce is finalized. Typically, the higher-earning spouse must pay alimony to the dependent spouse to make the divorce more equitable.
Pennsylvania recognizes another type of financial support called “spousal support.” A spouse may file for spousal support even if no divorce is pending unlike APL which requires that a divorce has been filed.
All support paid to a spouse is income-driven, and earning capacity is considered. That means that even if a spouse has not worked for an extended period, they may still have a higher earning capacity depending on education, training, or other factors. An attorney can even recruit a forensic accountant to determine the net income of self-employed individuals.
Determining the Amount of Spousal Support & Alimony
Get an accurate view of the support you could receive
There are multiple ways to determine the amount of spousal support and alimony. These include considering factors and using a formula. Alternatively, you and your spouse can agree on the amount of financial support.
Factors Considered When Determining Alimony in Pennsylvania
The court considers 17 factors similar to those considered in equitable distribution of divorce assets when determining alimony.
Under Pennsylvania Law, those factors include the following:
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
- The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
- The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
- The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
- The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
- The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
- The property brought to the marriage by either party.
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
- The relative needs of the parties.
- The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony, except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
- The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
- Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party's reasonable needs.
- Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
Spousal Support & APL Formula
Some courts may also use the spousal support/APL formula to determine a post-divorce alimony obligation instead of the above detailed factored analysis. The formula utilizes the net income of each spouse. The formula does not ensure both spouses have an equal amount of money but rather an equitable (or fair) amount of money.
The person who receives support may still have a lower household income than the higher wage earner paying support.
Pennsylvania does not have a formula that determines the period of time a person may pay or receive spousal support or alimony.
Negotiating Alimony & Spousal Support Payments
If you and your spouse do not want the court to determine the amount you receive in alimony, you can have your alimony attorneys help you negotiate a fair amount to be exchanged.
During alimony and spousal support negotiations, your attorney and your spouse's attorney will exchange income information and calculations to arrive at an agreed upon support obligation.
With adequate information, alimony lawyer Susan Gibson can provide a general idea of how much you should expect in support payments. Cooperation and transparency are key when working with an alimony law firm. You should provide all requested documents in a timely manner and your attorney will know what's worth fighting for during negotiations of support payments.
Alimony & Spousal Support FAQs
This is understandably a difficult situation, and you likely have many questions.
Our alimony law firm provides answers to your most common questions.
Can Spousal Support be Granted Before the Divorce is Final?
Yes. You may be able to get spousal support or alimony pendente lite before a divorce decree is entered in your case. Alimony is only paid, if at all, after a divorce is final.
How Long Do You Need to be Married to Receive Alimony?
There is no minimum amount of time that you must be married to receive alimony. Length of marriage is one of the factors considered when determining whether alimony is appropriate and the amount of alimony. However, in very short marriages an alimony award is unlikely.
Do I Get 1 Year of Alimony for Every 3 Years of Marriage?
There is no hard-set law that says you will get one year of support for every three years of marriage; however, that is a “rule of thumb” followed by many courts in Pennsylvania. There can be many factors that shorten or extend that time period.
Can Alimony or Spousal Support be Modified?
Yes. Alimony may be modified upon motion by either spouse. The spouse who files for modification must prove there has been a material change in circumstances for one or both spouses.
Do I Need to Go to Court?
If the court determines your alimony and spousal support, you will likely attend a hearing determining the amount, length, and other details. However, if you and your spouse agree to a financial support amount outside of court, you won't likely have to go to court for this issue specifically. You may, however, have to go to court for other issues related to your separation and/or divorce.
Is Alimony Tax Deductible?
No. Any alimony or other maintenance payments related to a divorce or separation that take place after January 1, 2019 are not tax-deductible by the person paying. Additionally, the person who receives alimony does not have to report the support as income.
Let Gibson Family Law, PLLC Handle Your Alimony Case
Separation can be hard enough without having to give up your way of living. Attorney Susan Gibson has been helping clients like you get the support they need in family law cases for almost 15 years.