Alimony and Child Support

Spousal and child support are common financial obligations that come up during divorce proceedings. Both are intended to provide monetary assistance to a financially dependent individual after a family has split.

What is alimony?

Alimony is when one spouse provides financial support to the other. Typically, alimony is paid by the higher wage earning spouse. It is designed to provide adequate income for the spouse who was financially dependent on the other.

There are many factors that the Court will consider when determining the appropriate amount and duration of alimony:

  • The age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouses;
  • The length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient;
  • The couple's standard of living during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage; and
  • The ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and still support himself or herself.

Generally, alimony amounts are modifiable if there is a significant change in circumstances such as the paying party's job loss or the receiving party's higher paying job. However, in Pennsylvania, any written agreement reached regarding the payment of alimony must clearly state that the alimony can be altered due to changed circumstances in order to be modified.

Because there is a significant difference in alimony laws between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it is very important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the laws in both states.

What is child support?

Child support is money paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent in order to help pay for a child's expenses, regardless of which parent makes more money. However, if the parents have equally shared physical custody, then the higher earning parent will typically have to pay some amount of child support to the lower earning parent.

Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania utilize Child Support Guidelines in determining the appropriate amount of child support to be paid from one parent to another. However, when the parties' combined net incomes are significant, these guidelines may not apply.

The payment of child support from one parent to the other typically covers the vast majority of a child's expenses. However, extraordinary expenses such as child care and post-secondary education may not be covered by the Child Support Guidelines.

If you have further questions regarding child support, contact an attorney who can explain the eligibility requirements and obligations that apply to your situation.

We Can Help

If you are in need of assitance regarding alimony or child support, please do not hesitate to contact our attorneys. We are here to assist you in any way that we can.