In this episode of the We Chat Divorce podcast, we’re joined by Charissa Liller, an attorney based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania practicing Family Law with the firm Curtin & Heefner. She began her career as a prosecutor and has been practicing law in Bucks County for over 20 years, with over 15 of those years focused on Family Law. Charissa is also running for Judge in Bucks County. She is seeking to bring experience, empathy, and consistency — qualities she brings to her family law practice – to the bench in support of families experiencing divorce.

Today she joins us for a conversation about guidelines and best practices related to Spousal Support, APL (Alimony Pendente Lite), and Child Support. Highlights include:

Support: an Overview

  • You do not have to be married to file for child support, as long as parents are living in separate households. If the parents are living within the same household, the court requires proof of a need to distinguish financial separation (bills aren’t being paid, utilities being turned off, groceries, certain expenses for the child)
  • If you are married, you can file for spousal support as long as you’re residing in physically separate residences.
  • Once you have filed for divorce, spousal support is then called APL.

Spousal Support vs. APL

  • APL is only when a divorce complaint is filed
  • With spousal support there’s an entitlement defense; the payor can claim claimant spouse is cheating, but the court requires proof. The remedy is to file a divorce claim, then you can file for APL.

Child Support Orders – What to Know

  • Extracurricular activities are not addressed in support orders. You can add provisions to the child support order providing both parental parties are agreeable to doing so and to the terms.
  • Medical expenses are always addressed. However, psychological and psychiatric expenses are not included with medical, so that language must be included as a provision in the order to ensure that expense is covered as a medical expense.
  • Support orders are always modifiable.

Final Tips:

  • Work with a CDFA to be clear on what your financial picture is and what it will be.
  • Don’t file support modifications on your own. Always consult with an attorney. You don’t know what you don’t know is key in divorce.

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