Family Law Attorneys Represent PA Clients in Alimony and Spousal Support Cases
Even though divorce is an emotionally painful end to an important relationship, divorce also involves sorting out the practical matter of dividing one household into two households. Marriage is not only an emotional union — it is also a financial partnership between two spouses. When there is a financial disparity between the spouses at the time of divorce, the law generally requires the more well-off spouse to provide financial spouse to his or her soon-to-be-ex-spouse for some period of time after their separation and divorce.
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The laws in Telford, PA governing alimony and spousal support are complicated. There are complex calculations and considerations that go into determining whether alimony should be granted and the amount of alimony to be awarded. It is extremely difficult to undertake such a dispassionate analysis at a time when your emotions are running at their highest point. That is why the alimony lawyers of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. will work to protect your rights and interests and to vigorously advocate on your behalf during the alimony determination process and throughout your divorce proceedings. While there are some formulaic calculations that go into determining the availability and amount of alimony to be awarded, other factors in the analysis are highly qualitative or subjective. That is why you need experienced alimony attorneys who can argue for a fair alimony arrangement that addresses your needs and concerns.
Calculating Alimony Obligations under Laws
The calculation of alimony is a fact-specific determination when undertaken by the court. However, if spouses choose to negotiate alimony between themselves, there is significant room for negotiation. Spouses can look at many of the same factors courts use in their alimony analysis, such as:
- The relative incomes and general financial positions of each spouse
- The relative earning capacity of each spouse, which may be higher than that spouse’s actual income and means that a lower-earning spouse’s ability to find better-paying employment may be highly relevant to the analysis
- The sources of each spouse’s income (e.g. employment, passive investments, retirement, insurance, workers’ compensation, etc.)
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- Whether one spouse financed the other spouse’s education before or during the marriage, thereby increasing that spouse’s earning capacity
- The impact of the need to care for minor children on a spouse’s earning capacity
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The reasonable monthly expenses of each spouse
- Either party’s contributions to the marriage as a homemaker
- The reason(s) for the divorce, including marital misconduct that occurred during the marriage prior to separation
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In the end, the purpose of the alimony factors is to ensure that both spouses enjoy a roughly equal standard of living that is as close as possible to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys Provide Dedicated Legal Representation to Clients Contesting Alimony Orders
It is important to remember that alimony payments are often not permanent, regardless of how long the marriage lasted. Usually, spouses negotiate or the court imposes conditions under which alimony can terminate, including:
- The receiving spouse remarries
- The receiving spouse cohabitates with a romantic partner
- The paying spouse dies (although some agreements or orders may require the paying spouse to secure life insurance or designate some other source of funds to continue alimony payments after his or her death)
Moreover, alimony awards can be modified after their entry if the agreement or award permits it, or if equitable circumstances permit the court to modify the other. Generally, alimony awards can be modified when there is a substantial change to one of the factors that was relevant to determining the initial alimony award, such as:
- One party’s employment or income has substantially changed
- One party has a significant and reasonable change in their regular expenses
- The receiving spouse has remarried or has changed their living situation in such a way as to reduce their need for alimony
If you are fashioning a new alimony arrangement or seeking to modify an existing one, it is important to have dedicated and skillful legal representation who can fashion strategic, persuasive arguments in favor of your interests and goals. An experienced alimony lawyer can be especially helpful if you decide to engage in mediation on the issue of alimony to avoid the time and expense of formal court intervention.
Divorce & Alimony
Significant Long-Term Alimony Awarded to Client in Divorce
Spouse Awarded Additional Support Toward Mortgage
Schedule a Consultation with Our Experienced Family Lawyers to Discuss Alimony and Spousal Support Matters
Divorce forces couples to confront difficult financial questions at a time of emotional and personal upheaval. These difficult financial issues are inevitable, since two households must now be created from the resources that were previously used to run one household. The knowledgeable family lawyers of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. are here to help you understand how alimony works under Pennsylvania law and to examine your legal rights and options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how our legal team will fight to ensure that you receive fair treatment under the alimony laws.
Frequently Asked Questions about Alimony
In some cases you can receive spousal support during the period of your separation prior to the court’s issuance of a divorce decree. This support is sometimes known as “alimony pendente lite”, which is alimony that is awarded during the divorce proceedings before the divorce is finalized. Calculating alimony pendente lite is a formulaic process matter under Pennsylvania law.
The terms “alimony” and “spousal support” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, “alimony” specifically refers to payments that are made from one ex-spouse to another only after their divorce has been finalized. “Spousal support” refers to the general universe of support payments from one spouse to another, including those that are made prior to the finalization of the parties’ divorce. For example, spousal support may be available even during the time when you and your spouse are separated from one another but before you both formally file for divorce.