Strategic Counsel For Spousal And Child Support Disputes

Child support is generally based on the parties' net incomes. Spousal support and Alimony Pendente Lite are usually based on equations related to the difference in the parties' net incomes, and have tax ramifications for both the payor and the recipient. With matters as complex as these, you should rely on the experience of Raphael, Ramsden & Behers, P.C.

The family law attorneys at Raphael, Ramsden & Behers, P.C. take a proactive and comprehensive approach to support in divorce. We analyze all the data and advise you on the merits of negotiation versus litigation. If needed, we will also work closely with your accountant or investment advisor to determine your net income and other issues that affect support.

Our firm represents both men and women in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and surrounding jurisdictions of Western Pennsylvania. For a thorough discussion of child support, spousal support, Alimony Pendente Lite, alimony and all related issues in divorce (or unmarried custody disputes), arrange a consultation today.

Spousal support is the support granted if you are separated, even if no formal divorce complaint has been filed. Alimony Pendente Lite is support that is granted once a divorce complaint is filed and while the divorce case is pending. We can provide sophisticated representation if you are seeking support or if you are defending a support action.

Child support is determined by state guidelines from the net incomes of both parents. We can represent you at an initial filing of child support and in actions to modify the current amount of support. In either event, consideration of the following issues is necessary:

  • Deviations from the child support formula include additional support to pay your mortgage to remain in the marital home, extra-curricular activities or private school tuition for the children, unreimbursed medical expenses (including copays and prescription drug costs), daycare and other expenses.
  • Earning Capacity: A parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed may be held to his or her earning capacity.
  • Self Employed Individuals: We have handled numerous cases of self-employed parents. A self employed individual may have a more difficult net income to determine. We obtain tax and bank records as necessary to discover the actual income.
  • The child support guidelines currently apply only to a certain combined net income. If the parties' combined net incomes are greater than what the current guidelines provide, the court applies a "reasonable need" standard, or "Melzer" analysis.
  • The child support statute was amended in 2005. If your support level was set before then, we can review it to determine if it should be increased or decreased. You can preserve the retroactivity of any increase or decrease in support only by filing a request to modify the support with the court.

Alimony, or support after the divorce decree is issued, is difficult to predict since judges have great leeway in determining the amount and duration of an alimony obligation. The skill of your lawyer is vitally important in determining an appropriate amount and duration of ongoing alimony. Will alimony be awarded for a short term for a spouse to go back to school or re-establish a career, or indefinite (until death or remarriage), or some other length of time?

The court considers 17 factors, set forth by the Pennsylvania statutes, including among other issues, income disparity, length of the marriage, age and earning capacity, health concerns and the reasonable needs of the dependent spouse. We look at these same factors to determine if alimony would likely apply to your case and what factors benefit you.

For fair and efficient handling of financial support in divorce, call Raphael, Ramsden & Behers at 412-471-8822 to arrange a consultation at our downtown Pittsburgh office. You can also email us .