In Pennsylvania, maintenance is available to the financially dependent spouse at different stages of the divorce proceedings. Prior to the divorce being filed it is termed “spousal support.” After filing and during divorce proceedings, support is termed “alimony pendente lite,” a Latin phrase meaning “alimony pending litigation.” After the entry of a final divorce decree, support is available in the form of “alimony.”
Children, Support, and Property
Custody can be modified at any time at the initiation of either party, keeping in mind that the paramount consideration for determining custody is the best interest of the child. A change in circumstances is not required to modify a custody order, however, it may be unlikely to obtain a change in the schedule if there has been no change in circumstances.
Yes. In Pennsylvania, the Grandparents Visitation Act provides grandparents with automatic standing to bring a petition for physical and legal custody of a grandchild. If it is in the best interest of the child not to be in the custody of either parent and if it is in the best interest of the child to be in the custody of the grandparent, the court may award physical and legal custody to the grandparent. This applies to grandparents who (1) have genuine care and concern for the child; (2) whose relationship with the child began with the consent of a parent Read more
Possibly. Support obligations are determined by calculating the disparity in parties’ incomes. If a child spends 40% or more overnights per year with a noncustodial parent, a rebuttable presumption exists that the noncustodial parent is entitled to a reduction in their child support obligation. If the parties have equally shared custody there may not be a support order if their incomes are substantially the same. If one parent makes more money than the other, there will generally be an order for child support even if the parties equally share custody.
Joint physical custody, also called shared custody, is an arrangement where custody is shared by both parents in such a manner that assures both parents have continuous contact with the child. It is important to note that parties can share custody and not have equal time with the child. Parents may have shared physical and legal custody. Generally, even if one party has primary physical custody the parties will share legal custody, or the right to make decisions for the child. Sole custody is the award of both physical and legal custody of the child to one parent. Sole physical Read more
Long-standing law in Pennsylvania is that the most important consideration when determining custody is the best interest of the child. To determine the child’s best interests, the court must look at all factors that legitimately impact the child physically, intellectually, morally and spiritually. The court will take many factors into account to make this determination, including but not limited to the child’s preference, custody arrangements of sibling, which party has typically been the primary caretaker, etc.