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The Finances of Parenting During a Divorce

Money Matters

Parenting can be difficult at times for anybody, and depending on life circumstances it can become increasingly more complicated over time. Parents going through a divorce may wonder what their lives might look like after the process completes and the divorce finalizes. Several parenting-related issues must be decided upon throughout the divorce.

Parents divorcing in Pennsylvania must consider spousal support, child support, and alimony as they work to finalize their divorce. These key financial pieces can help parents going through a divorce plan to care for their children.

Spousal Support

The issue of spousal support depends on the circumstances that a spouse will be put in after divorce begins. Spousal support is paid by one spouse to the other during the divorce proceeding, but this only occurs if one spouse is left with a substantially lower income as a result of the parties separating.

Spousal support is becoming more uncommon today with the increase in no-fault divorces in the state. Rather, in its place has arisen what is known in Pennsylvania as alimony pendente light. These payments are of a similar nature to spousal support and are paid by the higher income-earning spouse during the divorce proceeding.


Alimony payments are also paid by the higher income-earning spouse to the spouse with the lower income, but the difference between alimony and spousal support is the timing of the payments. Whereas alimony pendente light payments are paid throughout the divorce process, alimony payments are paid after the divorce is finalized.

Alimony is not automatically awarded in a divorce and must be requested by the spouse earning less money. In addition, the judge will assign one of three types of alimony.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is paid for a specific period of time and is designed to help one party recover financially after the divorce is finalized until he or she is self-sustaining with a regular income.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is paid until either the spouse passes away or remarries.

Reimbursement Alimony

Reimbursement alimony is in the rare circumstance that one spouse provided money for another spouse to use for an expense such as additional education. This type of alimony allows for the recovery of those finances.

How Alimony is Determined

Alimony is determined based on several factors, including the income of both spouses, the earning potential of both spouses, the length of the marriage, and the standard of living that both spouses enjoyed while together. However, there is no set formula for calculating alimony payments because every case is different.

Child Support

All parents have a duty to provide for their children, and divorce does not create an exception for one parent over the other. Child support payments are a percentage of a parent’s monthly income that goes to the other parent and is to be used for expenses related to any children. Typically the non-custodial parent makes these payments to the custodial parent.

Similar to alimony payments, child support payments are determined based on a variety of factors such as income levels and earning potential of both parents. Pennsylvania gives guidelines that judges typically follow, but a judge has the freedom to divert from these guidelines and assign a higher or lower child support amount at his or her discretion. Regardless, the child support amount will be whatever is in the best interest of the child in question.

Health insurance may be an additional factor in child support. Depending on the family situation, one parent may still have to keep a child on a health insurance plan after the divorce is finalized.

Seek Advice from a Central Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney

Complex financial issues in a divorce such as alimony and child support can be difficult to wade through on your own. If you are struggling financially and want to seek assistance in your divorce, you have the right to seek these options. Statt Law has worked with many clients in similar situations and has the tools necessary to help you in your case.

Contact us today at (717) 537-0928 or fill out our form online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.