Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
When and where can I file for divorce?
In order to file for a divorce in Pennsylvania, one or both of the parties must have resided in Pennsylvania for at least six months immediately preceding the filing date. The divorce action may be filed in the county where either party lives, or the parties can agree in writing to pursue the action in any Pennsylvania county. The parties can also agree to pursue the action in a particular county by participating in the divorce process once filed by the other spouse.
When does child support end?
Usually, the obligation to pay child support continues until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever event happens later. However, there are some limited situations in which the obligation may continue longer. For example, if the child is mentally or physically handicapped, the obligation to care for the child may continue indefinitely.
How are spousal support and alimony pendente lite calculated?
Like child support, in determining spousal support or APL, the court first looks at the net monthly incomes of both parties. The court then utilizes a formula and applies the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines, which are based on the total of the parties’ net incomes. Factors such as child custody, mortgage payments and insurance premiums can change this guideline amount. Additionally, high-income cases are analyzed differently. The attorneys at Cognetti & Associates are familiar with Pennsylvania’s support law and can help you understand the intricacies of these calculations.
Can alimony be modified or terminated?
If alimony is ordered by the court, the amount of alimony a person receives may be modified upon a showing of changed circumstances of either party. Such changed circumstances may include involuntary income reduction and forced retirement. If an award of alimony is entered into pursuant to an agreement of the parties, the parties can agree that the alimony be either modifiable or nonmodifiable. Alimony terminates upon the remarriage of the party receiving the alimony or upon the death of either party. Alimony also terminates if the person receiving it cohabitates with an unrelated member of the opposite sex. The parties can also determine the duration of alimony in a pre- or postnuptial agreement.
Can a child support obligation be entered pursuant to a pre- or postnuptial agreement?
Neither parent may, through a pre- or postnuptial agreement, bargain away his or her responsibility to pay child support. No matter how carefully drafted, an agreement that states that one parent will not be responsible for child support, or will be responsible for less child support than he or she would be obligated to pay under the law, will be held unenforceable. Child support is a right that belongs to the child, and the child’s parents are not legally able to bargain away that right.