If you are going through a divorce or legal separation, your financial future could depend on a fair and reasonable spousal support order. In Pennsylvania, the amount and duration of such support is almost entirely at the discretion of the court, so it’s important to have an experienced divorce lawyer advocating strongly for you. When the income that supported one household is suddenly called upon to support two, financial strain is inevitable. But what is not inevitable is you being forced to bear the brunt of that hardship because of an unfair alimony ruling. At Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C., in Media, we draw on more than 20 years of divorce litigation to help our clients negotiate a fair settlement with their ex or litigate successfully to obtain a fair judgment.
Pennsylvania law allows for three types of spousal support, depending on when the support is requested:
Courts use a strict mathematical formula to determine amounts for spousal support and APL. Under the formula, the dependent spouse receives 40 percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes. But, if there are minor children, the dependent spouse receives 30 percent of the difference in net incomes after subtracting the child support from the supporting spouse’s income.
There is no formula for post-divorce alimony, but the law requires judges to consider 17 factors when deciding whether to make an award, how much to award, and for how long. Gender is not a factor in an alimony determination. The relevant factors are:
In practice, many judges apply the APL formula for the amount of alimony and only use the factors to determine the duration of alimony. However, some judges use the factors to determine amount and duration. This has led to a system where couples in similar circumstances can get widely divergent rulings, depending on the particular judge they draw.
For this reason, it helps enormously to have an experienced divorce attorney who understands the law and the tendencies of the judges in the Delaware County family court. In our practice, we prefer to attempt to negotiate alimony settlements, to take the decision out of the hands of the judge and avoid the risk of an adverse ruling. However, when an opposing party refuses to be reasonable and tries to force our client to bear the financial hardship of a divorce, we take the case to court with confidence. We come fully prepared to present the court with evidence supporting those factors that weigh in our client’s favor and we fight aggressively to win.
Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C. works diligently to help clients obtain fair alimony orders. Call us at 610-624-4227 or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation. We are conveniently located at 206 West State Street, just a few short blocks from the Delaware County Courthouse.