Philadelphia Alimony Lawyer
Unfortunately, going through a separation or divorce can be a very difficult and emotionally challenging ordeal. Usually some of the main issues people face during this trying time are financial stability and, sometimes, simply an ability to support oneself. In most of the situations, a financially dependent or disadvantaged spouse may be entitled to some form of spousal support. Regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself, either as the party entitled to receive some form of spousal support or the party potentially required to pay it, you have rights and most certainly should retain an experienced family law attorney in order to ensure your financial future is protected.
Types of Spousal Support
The law in Pennsylvania allows three (3) types of spousal support that may be ordered by the court: (1) Spousal Support, (2) Alimony Pendente Lite, and (3) Alimony.
(1) Spousal support is paid after the parties separate, but before a divorce is final; it may be ordered before a divorce action is even filed.
(2) Alimony Pendente Lite, which literally means "pending litigation", similarly to Spousal Support, is a temporary order for support made after the divorce action is filed but before there is a final divorce decree.
Rule 1910.16-4 of the Pennsylvania Code provides the formula and guidelines for determining these support amounts. These guidelines take into consideration the financial need of the spouse requesting support along with the net disposable incomes and earning abilities of both spouses. In some instances, the court may consider some other factors like the length of the marriage and some unusual expenses or needs and issue an order that is different from the guideline calculations.
(3) Alimony, unlike Spousal Support or Alimony Pendente Lite, is an order for spousal support that is made either at the very same time or immediately after the final Divorce decree is entered. This form of support may be temporary or permanent. Both the amount of support to be paid and the duration of the support are determined by the court.
There is no set formula by which Pennsylvania court will calculate alimony. Rather, there are a number of factors which the court will consider in determining alimony:
• the age of the spouses
• the physical, mental and emotional health of the spouses
• the length of the marriage
• the spouses' income and earning capacity
• the spouses' sources of income (including benefits like retirement, medical, insurance, etc)
•·the spouses' inheritances and any property they are expected to inherit
•·the assets and debts of each spouse
• each spouse's financial needs
• whether either spouse helped the other to get training, education, or increased income during the marriage
• the education of both spouses and how long it would take for the spouse asking for alimony to complete education or training required to find sufficient employment
• whether a spouse has expenses and/or a limited earning ability due to having custody of a minor child
• the standard of living during the marriage
• the separate property each spouse brought to the marriage
• whether a spouse contributed to the marriage as a homemaker
•·the marital misconduct of either party during marriage (the court will only consider conduct prior to the final consideration unless that conduct was the abuse of one spouse unto the other)
• how alimony will affect each spouse's taxes
• whether the spouse asking for alimony has enough property, including property divided in the divorce, to meet reasonable needs, and
• whether the spouse asking for alimony is unable to be self-supporting through reasonable employment.
Duration of Alimony:
The duration of the alimony will depend on the circumstances as determined by the court. There may be an end date or the alimony may be made ongoing. However, a number of circumstances can affect the court's decision:
• if the party receiving alimony remarries, alimony may be terminated
• if the party receiving alimony lives with a non-family member of the opposite sex, alimony may be terminated
• if the party receiving alimony dies, alimony may be terminated
• if the party paying alimony dies, alimony may be terminated unless the court order or party agreement stipulates otherwise
• a significant change in circumstance of either party may justify the court re-evaluating the current situation and making a necessary modification (this applies to both duration and amount)
Modification of Alimony and Spousal Support
Sometimes it may be necessary to modify (change) the amount of the support order. Some of the instances when such modification is warranted are: disability of one of the parties or significant change of one of the spouse's income.
Why do I Need an Attorney?
The fact that there is no specific formula to determine the exact amount or duration of Spousal Support or alimony should make it obvious that it is absolutely necessary to have an experienced attorney protecting your rights and fighting for your needs. A knowledgeable and experienced alimony attorney can demonstrate to the court why certain factors are more relevant than others in order to secure you the most favorable outcome possible. Whether trying to resolve an issue of
support or seeking modification, a spousal support/alimony attorney will help you to protect your finances and provide you with the economic stability you need and deserve.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.