Montgomery County Alimony Attorney
Divorce can be extremely frustrating for both parties. Whether a divorce happened by both parties’ consent or because of some fault, divorce and life after divorce can be stressful. Where alimony is concerned, former spouses can often have lengthy disputes.
Whether you are currently going through a divorce or have already been divorced and want your alimony changed, you should hire an attorney to make sure that your rights – and your wallet – are properly taken care of. Even if you are already in the early stages of divorce, is it not too late to get an attorney. Sadek and Cooper is a greater Philly area law firm that represents both husbands and wives in their divorces and alimony proceedings in Montgomery County.
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What is Alimony and How Does it Work?
Alimony can also be called “spousal support.” The goal of alimony is to make sure that a spouse is provided-for financially after a marriage ends. In many marriages, one spouse makes most of the income, while the other makes less or no money. In these situations, alimony is especially important because it gives the low-income spouse the ability to get divorced without having to worry financially. In divorces based on faults, such as abuse or adultery, it would be unfair to force the harmed spouse to stay married for fear that they would end up poor. Alimony helps fix this.
Alimony has multiple purposes and can last for different amounts of time. After some divorces, the low-income spouse may be readily able to support him or herself, so alimony is unnecessary. In other divorces, a spouse is fully dependent on the other, so alimony is needed for a long time. It could also be ordered to make up for some wrong in the marriage such as adultery or abuse, or to cover some very small factor like a few months of post-divorce health insurance
How is Alimony Decided in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has some guidelines and factors that help a judge make decisions about alimony orders, but these leave a lot of room for interpretation and argument by the parties. This means that having a lawyer in an alimony case is nearly essential. A good family law attorney can explain your situation to the judge and use the available factors to convince the judge of different outcomes for alimony. The attorney’s facts and arguments can greatly sway the alimony outcomes in any case.
Pennsylvania has seventeen factors that are used to determine alimony. Note that while dividing property between spouses upon divorce is based on what is “equitable” or “fair,” alimony is based more on need, but can even take a party’s fault in the divorce into account. The following are the seventeen factors for alimony in Pennsylvania found in 23 Pa.C.S. § 3701(b):
- How much money each spouse makes compared to the other
- The ages and health of each party – including physical, mental, and emotional health
- How each spouse makes income, including sources such as insurance, retirement/pension accounts, work benefits, and more
- Inheritances and other money that each party has coming their way
- The length of the marriage – shorter marriages may be more likely to have smaller alimony awards, since the spouse relied upon the other for less time
- How each party contributed to the other’s education – e.g. one spouse worked to put the other through college
- The effect that the physical custody of a minor child will have on their ability to get a job and on expenses
- The standard of living each spouse was accustomed to during the marriage – the law does not expect people with a wealthy lifestyle to suddenly become destitute, nor the opposite
- The education level of each party compared to the other, and the amount of time it will take to get proper education, job training, and to find a job
- The property and debts that each party has
- The property that each party brought into the marriage – e.g. a spouse who outright owns a house would not need support to pay for rent
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker – the law favors spouses who took care of the house or were stay-at-home parents during the marriage
- The needs of each party, relative to the other
- Any misconduct in the marriage up until the time of separation – this includes things like cheating and abuse
- How alimony will affect tax issues
- Whether or not a party can actually afford to take care of him or herself
- Whether a party is able to support themselves after finding a job.
Contact a Montgomery County Alimony Attorney of Sadek & Cooper
These affect not only the decision to grant alimony or not, but also the length of time and amount of alimony awarded.
If you are seeking a lawyer in Montgomery County to help you through issues involving divorce and alimony, contact Sadek and Cooper. Whether you are a husband or wife, and whether you are paying or receiving alimony – or trying to change your alimony order – call 215-814-0395.