Divorces can often be difficult when spouses lives are intertwined in so many ways. This may be financially or even if they have children together. Because of this, it is often required for a spouse to make support payments to the other spouse after the divorce. This may be to support them, or their child. These payments are known as spousal support and child support. They exist to financially assist the other individual so that their life may continue as normal as possible.
Couples that are together for a long time often combine their finances and assets. This may leave families in a situation in which they have a single income household. In many houses, one spouse decides to work while the other chooses to be the caretaker of the home. When this happens, one spouse can be financially dependent on the other. When they go through a divorce, it can leave the dependent spouse stuck in a difficult financial state without an income of their own to support themselves.
In these situations, an independent spouse may owe spousal support, also known as alimony, to the dependent spouse. These are made to help the dependent spouse sustain a comfortable life while working to gain their own independence to support themselves. There are different types of alimony in Pennsylvania that depend on the type of relationship and the circumstance surrounding the former spouses.
Couples who have children together must settle child support payments in court. Depending on the custody arrangements, one parent may become the child’s custodial parent while the other is the non-custodial parent. As the custodial parent, the individual is required to provide the child with a home, clothes, food, an education, and more. The cost of living for a child can become too costly for one parent to handle by themselves. This is why Pennsylvania courts require both parents to financially assist their child. The non-custodial parent must pay child support to the custodial parent to balance out the cost of living. This also allows the child to maintain the standard of living they had before the divorce.
Parents must pay child support until their child reaches the age of emancipation. In the state of Pennsylvania, this is usually at 18 years old. However, the age can change depending on the child’s needs. In some cases, the court may decide to extend support payments if a child cannot yet support themselves. If a parent wishes to terminate support payments, they must petition the court saying that their child is emancipated. If the court approves of this motion, support payments can end.
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