5 Sets of Documents to Gather Before Filing for Support
Separating from your spouse is overwhelming, especially for someone who is financially dependent on their partner. In Pennsylvania, the law allows a parent who exercises primary custody of a minor child or a parent who has shared custody but makes less money than the other party to file for child support. Similarly, while a divorce is pending, the lesser earning spouse might have a claim for spousal support or alimony pendente lite based on the difference in the party’s incomes.
Discussing your particular situation with qualified Pittsburgh family law attorneys is the best route to be fully prepared. In addition, the following documents, where applicable, should be collected in order to set forth a viable claim for support:
- Driver’s License, Social Security Card and Health Insurance Cards. Before you can get to the point of having a hearing to establish your support entitlement, the court has to accept your petition for support. Photocopies of these documents are required to be submitted at the time of filing.
- Proof of Income. Pennsylvania calculates support based upon the net monthly income of each party. Income can usually be derived from pay stubs, W-2s, 1099s, and tax returns, but in certain cases where there are complex issues, additional documents might have to be produced.
- Expenses Relating to Healthcare. A party’s payment of medical, dental and vision insurance premiums will be considered in the support calculation. When the coverage is provided through employment, the cost can typically be derived from a pay stub, but sometimes information must be obtained directly from the insurance company. The support order will allocate unreimbursed medical expenses for minor children and for a spouse while the divorce is pending, so documentation of those costs should be maintained as well.
- Costs for Child Care, Private School Tuition, Camps and Activities. The law can allocate certain categories of expenses for children between the parties. This allocation can be built into the monthly support payment or be a separate provision for each party to pay his and her proportionate share of prospective expenses.
- Mortgage, HELOC and Real Estate Tax Statements. In some cases, where a party is occupying the marital residence with a high mortgage, second mortgage and/or real estate tax payment, the support can be adjusted to give that party additional funds to pay toward the residence pending the finalization of the divorce.
Gathering the above expenses will allow you to be thoroughly prepared to attend a support proceeding. Each case is unique, however, so before filing any claims you should consult with a family law attorney. Our Pittsburgh family law attorneys are well equipped to handle all support matters, including complex cases with sophisticated issues. To discuss your support issues, contact our office at (412) 471-9000 or fill out our online contact form.
Joseph R. Williams, partner at Pollock Begg, maintains a comprehensive family law practice including all types of economic cases, custody and visitation, protection from abuse and support. A dynamic member of the legal community, Joe has been recognized with numerous awards for his achievements and leadership. He frequently authors for legal publications as well as mainstream media and lectures and moderates at continuing legal education seminars.