If you are a father who is headed towards divorce, you probably have several concerns. Will I have to pay child support and if so, how much? Will I have to pay spousal support? Will I have to move out of my home? Will we have to put our house on the market? Will I be able to take care of myself, after supporting my children and possibly my ex? Surely, money is probably one of the top things on your mind.
For starters, most of the financial stress sinks in when you don’t have all the information. For this reason, we highly recommend contacting a divorce attorney as soon as possible and learning all about the state’s child support and spousal support laws and how they apply to your specific situation.
As far as child support and spousal support are concerned, a lot rides on the child custody arrangement you agree to, your current monthly income, and your spouse’s income. If it looks like you’re going to get custody of the children, then your wife would have to pay you child support. On the other hand, if your wife is going to have the kids most of the time, you will be responsible for child support.
Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support?
Let us tell you right now that spousal support is not automatic in Pennsylvania divorce cases. If you earn more than your wife, then you may need to support your wife, but it depends on your circumstances. Do you earn a lot more than her? Or, has she been a stay-at-home mom for several years? In those cases, you have a higher chance of needing to pay spousal support, at least temporarily.
If your wife has a college degree, or has only been out of the workforce for only a few years, then she may be quite employable. Regardless of how much you earn, there is a very good chance that your wife is going to have no other choice but to go back to work, even if you have little ones at home. With the availability of childcare, many divorced woman are strongly encouraged by the courts to seek employment as soon as possible.
Our Advice to Fathers
If you are a father who is getting a divorce in the near future, here is our advice to you:
- Learn Pennsylvania’s child custody laws.
- Learn about the state’s child support guidelines.
- Learn more about the state’s spousal support laws.
- If you own a home, consider selling it and splitting the proceeds with your spouse. Discuss your options with a lawyer.
- If you can afford to, pay off all joint debts.
- If you have joint credit cards, cancel them or put them in one spouse’s name.
- Consider moving to a smaller place.
- Consider the benefits of living close to your ex-wife: it will be easier to see your children regularly, you’ll save travel time, and money on gas.
- If you and your wife have opposite work schedules, consider working together to swap watching the kids so you save money on childcare, and see your kids more.
- If money is going to be tight, find ways to get a promotion or increase your income.
- Strive for an uncontested, no-fault divorce. It’s much cheaper than having a contested divorce.
- If your wife is not working, encourage her to become financially independent as soon as possible.