The changing legal landscape in Pennsylvania Support law.
As it stands now in Pennsylvania, separated spouses can file for Alimony Pendente Lite against the other spouse (usually through the Domestic Relations Section). The parties go to a conference where the income of the parties are reviewed, state mandated guidelines are reviewed, and a number for the support of one spouse while the divorce is pending is entered based upon that information. The key to our current system is that the Domestic Relations Section has guidelines to review to determine the amount of support based upon the parties’ incomes. It’s a system that offers predictability and helps move cases through the judicial system without the need to involve Judges, except in rare cases.
Well, that possibly could change in the near future here in Pennsylvania. House Bill 1250 introduced by Representative Delozier on April 19, 2017, proposes the Alimony Pendente Lite statue at 23 Pa.C.S.A. 3702 be modified. The changes proposed by HB 1250 essentially removes the guidelines for Alimony Pendente Lite and forces the Court to “determine that the income and resources of the petitioning spouse are insufficient to provide for that spouse’s basic needs, including the costs of prosecuting or defending the divorce action,” prior to awarding that spouse any Alimony Pendente Lite. The proposed changes to the law at this time also include a provision providing, “a determination under this section that alimony pendent lite or spousal support is warranted shall not be based solely upon any rule of court setting forth presumptive guidelines for the calculation of support or upon the party’s standard of living during the marriage.” Should this law pass, the process for obtaining Alimony Pendente Lite and Spousal Support will most likely drastically changed. Please be assured no matter what the outcome or state of the law in Pennsylvania regarding Alimony Pendente Lite and/or Spousal Support, the attorneys at Sommer & O’Donnell are here to fight for your rights and protect your interests.
Credit: Brandon S. O’Donnell, Esquire