I make more money than my wife, though not by much, and she is insisting that I will have to pay her child support and alimony pendente lite even while our divorce is pending.
What is alimony pendente lite? I assume this is a form of spousal support, but not technically alimony?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania child support and alimony laws where I am licensed to practice.
You are correct that alimony pendente lite (APL) refers to support payments that are paid to a spouse during the pendency of a divorce proceeding.
The purpose of APL is to permit a dependent spouse to prosecute or defend the action. This payment is temporary in nature (it will end once all economic aspects of the divorce have been determined), and generally is available where the recipient has demonstrated a need for maintenance and professional services during the pendency of the proceedings.
Where I practice, APL is taxable income to the payee and deductible to the payor, provided that the other requirements of the Internal Revenue Code are met.
The amount of a child support, spousal support or APL order is determined in accordance with state child support guidelines. The guidelines set a presumptive minimum amount of support and the court may award an upward deviation if there is a reasonable need to do so.
Your wife will not be required to pay you APL if you are the higher earner. The calculation of a support obligation, based on the support guidelines, takes into consideration the income of both parents in determining a basic child support obligation.
It then allows for adjustments based on things like substantial or shared physical custody, or additional expenses like health insurance or child care costs. You are correct that the calculation of APL under the guidelines does take into consideration the amount you are paying in child support.
Speaking very generally, if you both work, and your income is not substantially higher, and you are also paying child support, an APL award would likely not be a significant amount.
There are also important federal tax considerations that come into play when labeling a support order as unallocated for support of spouse and children as opposed to just labeling it as child support.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.