Bucks County Alimony Attorney
Alimony, or spousal support, is financial support the court orders one spouse to provide to the other as part of a divorce proceeding. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily true that men always pay alimony, or that women are always the recipients. Financial factors, not gender, are what determine who pays alimony, how much, and for how long.
While lawmakers have made efforts to reform and streamline alimony regulations in recent years, the determination, enforcement, and modification of alimony are all matters which can be fraught with financial peril and complexity, particularly in high asset divorces. Regardless of whether you are the party who is seeking alimony, or wish to fight an alimony request in court, it is vital that your interests are protected by a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney who has experience handling complex alimony disputes in Bucks County. If you need help obtaining, disputing, or modifying alimony in your Bucks County divorce case, call Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at 215-814-0395 for a free and confidential legal consultation.
What is the Purpose of Alimony (Spousal Support) in Divorce Proceedings?
First, it is important to emphasize that alimony is not a guaranteed condition of each and every divorce. Depending on your financial circumstances and those of your spouse, the court may decline to award alimony. To quote the relevant section of Pennsylvania’s pertinent alimony statute, 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3701(a), “Where a divorce decree has been entered, the court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.”
The purpose of alimony is not to “punish” either spouse, but simply to help ensure that the more economically disadvantaged spouse has the resources he or she needs to maintain a certain standard of living. For example, the spouse who is receiving alimony, called the “recipient,” may need financial support from the spouse paying alimony, called the “payor,” while the recipient pursues the training, education, or job skills needed for financial independence in the future. For instance, one spouse may argue that he or she put a career or education on hold in order to help raise children or provide support to the other spouse at an earlier point in time.
How Are Alimony Payments Determined in Bucks County, Pennsylvania?
Because every person has a unique financial background, alimony must be determined on a case-by-case basis. 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3701(b) provides a list of factors that courts weigh when determining alimony in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania, which include, but are not limited to:
- Each party’s age and health.
- Each party’s actual earnings, earning capacity, and sources of income, including but not limited to insurance benefits, medical benefits, and retirement benefits.
- Each party’s level of education.
- How long the marriage lasted. When determining the duration of an alimony order – in other words, how long the payor spouse makes payments – under 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3701(c), the court may order support “for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.”
- The extent to which each party contributed their time, money, and labor as a “homemaker.”
- The extent to which each party contributed to the other party’s “education, training or increased earning power.”
- The impact of raising and caring for a minor child on the custodial party’s ability to provide for themselves.
- The standard of living maintained during the marriage.
- Whether either party abused the other party.
- Whether either party expects to come into an inheritance.
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to obtain a modification of or reduction to alimony. There are also some scenarios where alimony can be discontinued or terminated outright. For instance, under 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3701(e), “Remarriage of the party receiving alimony shall terminate the award of alimony.” In other words, if you remarry, you will lose your right to continue receiving alimony from your ex-wife or ex-husband under Pennsylvania law.
Bucks County Alimony Lawyers Representing Men and Women in Divorce Cases
The Bucks County spousal support attorneys of Sadek & Cooper Law Offices represent men and women who wish to pursue, modify, reduce, or terminate alimony during or following Pennsylvania divorce proceedings. We handle alimony disputes arising in all parts of Bucks County, including but not limited to Levittown, Croydon, Bristol, Quakertown, Morrisville, Perkasie, Fairless Hills, Doylestown, Richboro, Sellersville, Churchville, Warminster Heights, Chalfont, and more.
Even if you and your spouse are in agreement on how alimony matters should be handled during your divorce, it is prudent to review your financial arrangements with an experienced attorney, who may detect issues or potential issues of which you were unaware. For a free legal consultation regarding your Bucks County alimony dispute or other matters related to spousal support, call Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215) 814-0395.