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Alimony Attorneys that Fight to Protect Your Financial Rights
Are you anxious about what your finances might look like after your divorce? Can you land on your feet without at least short-term support from your ex? Are you worried about being saddled with an alimony obligation that will dampen your future plans?
Courts in Pennsylvania have tremendous discretion when deciding on alimony, and the court’s decision can have a tremendous impact on your future. To protect yourself, you need advice and counsel from Kelly Family Law, PLLC: experienced alimony lawyers. I draw on more than 15 years of experience to guide you through your divorce, protecting your rights and promoting your interests on every issue, including alimony.
How do Pennsylvania Courts Decide Alimony?
If a party to divorce wants to receive alimony, he or she must make a formal request before the court prior to the entry of the divorce decree. (Alimony in Pennsylvania is gender neutral.) If a court awarded spousal support or alimony pendente lite, which is a temporary award, you should not assume an alimony award is forthcoming.
Section 3701 of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code states that a “court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.
As to the duration of an award, §3701 goes on to state that alimony may be “for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.” Pennsylvania courts consider the following 17 factors set forth in the Divorce Code when deciding whether an alimony award “is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of” such an award:
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties
- The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties
- The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits
- The expectancies and inheritances of the parties
- The duration of the marriage
- The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
- The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment
- The relative assets and liabilities of the parties
- The property brought to the marriage by either party
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker
- The relative needs of the parties
- The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage (The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony, except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 relating to definitions.)
- The federal, state and local tax ramifications of the alimony award
- Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs
- Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment
These factors do not all carry the same weight. How they factor into an alimony award depends on the nature and circumstances of the parties.
As an experienced family law attorney, I can assemble the evidence and make compelling arguments on your behalf why the court should award alimony and which factors should most affect the amount and duration.
Alternately, if you are facing an alimony claim, I can advise you on the most important factors to defend against an award. Unfortunately, the average person does not have sufficient knowledge of the laws and local procedures to adequately pursue an award or to defend against one. I have your best interests at heart and work hard to get you the best possible results.
Negotiating an Alimony Settlement to Guard Against an Adverse Ruling
One way to ensure you do not get hit with an adverse ruling on alimony is to negotiate or mediate a settlement with your spouse. Working with an attorney who knows the court tendencies on the alimony issue gives you an advantage in talks, and my skill as a negotiator can help you arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
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