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Support Issues: Making Sense Out Of The Dollars And Cents That Impact Your Family

When the dynamics of a family change, so do the finances.   Sometimes, two incomes are reduced to one, or an income that was relied upon by the entire family may suddenly be eliminated.   These situations can impact the whole family in differing ways during and after the initial breakup of a family.   At Raphael, Ramsden & Behers, we can give you answers at every stage of this process.  We work with men and women; and mothers and fathers, and will advocate for a fair resolution to your family’s support matters.   Call us today at 412-471-8822 to schedule your confidential consultation regarding the different types of support that can impact you and your family. 

Child Support – 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, you need a legal team who is well versed as to how various issues will impact child support.   Our attorneys have vast experience all of the issues that will affect the amount of child support, including the following:  

  • When does the court deviate from support guidelines?  Add ons or deviations from the child support formula may 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 unusual or extraordinary expenses; 
  • What if a parent chooses to earn less money that he or she is capable of earning?  In such instances a court may look at that parent’s Earning Capacity and may assess a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed an earning capacity; or 
  • What if a parent does not receive a W2 and is self-employed?    A self-employed individual may have a more difficult net income to determine. We obtain tax and bank records, and will even utilize forensic accounting experts, if necessary, to determine the actual income, as opposed to just the obvious income.  Our team has handled numerous cases of self-employed parents, and has the experience and skills that are essential to a just award of child support.    

Spousal Support – Spousal Support is the support granted if you are separated, even if no divorce complaint has been filed.   Like child support, it is based on state guidelines, but, also like child support, there are factors that will warrant a deviation from those guidelines.   However, spousal support can be challenged in certain instances and is subject to defenses, including an entitlement defense.   We will provide you with the strategic representation that you need throughout this process, whether you are pursuing an award of support, or are challenging your spouse’s claim for support.   Either way, you need an experienced family law attorney in your corner.    

Alimony Pendent Lite - Alimony Pendente Lite (often referred to as APL) differs from spousal support, as it is support that is granted after a divorce complaint is filed and while the divorce is pending.    APL is intended to allow the recipient to support himself or herself during divorce proceedings, and to be able afford the cost associated with pursuing the divorce.   We will look at these factors as well in order to advocate for you in court, or in attempting to reach a settlement outside of court.   

Alimony - Alimonyis support after the divorce decree is issued, and all economic claims for division of property conclude. In Pennsylvania, judges have broad discretion in determining the amount and duration of an alimony obligation. 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.   As your legal team, we look at these same factors to determine if alimony would likely apply to your case and what factors benefit you.  The skill of your lawyer is vitally important in determining an appropriate amount and duration of ongoing alimony. 

In summation, Pennsylvania support law can be complicated, and requires expertise to assure that you are getting the amount of support to which you are entitled, or by contrast, are not paying more than you should.  Let us provide you with the strategic representation that you need during this complicated, and critical, process.   Call Raphael, Ramsden & Behers at 412-471-8822 to arrange for a consultation at our downtown Pittsburgh office.   

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