Alimony Attorney in Delaware County, PA Fights for Fair Orders in Media, Springfield, Radnor, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Throughout Southeast Pennsylvania
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 30 years of divorce litigation to help our clients negotiate a fair settlement with their ex or litigate successfully to obtain a fair judgment.
Types of Alimony Available in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law allows for three types of spousal support, depending on when the support is requested:
- Spousal support — Support paid to a dependent spouse after a separation but before the filing of a divorce
- Alimony pendente lite (APL) — Support paid to a dependent spouse after the filing of a divorce but before the divorce is finalized
- Alimony — Support paid after the divorce is finalized
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.
How Courts in Pennsylvania Calculate Post-Divorce Alimony
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:
- The relative earnings of the parties
- The duration of the marriage
- The ages and physical, mental and emotional states of the parties
- The parties’ sources of income, including medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits
- The parties’ expected future earnings and inheritances
- The degree to which one spouse has contributed to the other’s education, training or increased earning potential
- The degree to which duties as custodian of a minor child will affect a spouse’s financial position
- The standard of living the spouses enjoyed during marriage
- The relative education of the parties, including the time required for the spouse seeking alimony to acquire education or training necessary to employment
- The relative assets and liabilities of the two parties
- The property each spouse brought to the marriage
- The degree to which a spouse contributed as a homemaker
- The relative needs of the two parties
- Any marital misconduct, such as abuse or adultery, either spouse exhibited during the marriage
- The federal, state and local tax consequences of the alimony
- Whether the spouse seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs
- Whether the spouse seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through employment
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.
Contact an Experienced Media Lawyer for Spousal Support Disputes in Delaware County
Louis Wm. Martini, Jr., P.C. works diligently to help clients obtain fair alimony orders. Call us at 610-632-6203 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.