Are you anxious about what your finances might look like after your divorce? Can you land on your feet without at least short-term support from your ex? Are you worried about being saddled with an alimony obligation that will dampen your future plans? Courts in Pennsylvania have tremendous discretion when deciding on alimony, and the court’s decision can have a tremendous impact on your future. To protect yourself, you need advice and counsel from Kelly Family Law, PLLC. I draw on more than 15 years of experience to guide you through your divorce, protecting your rights and promoting your interests on every issue, including alimony.
If a party to divorce wants to receive alimony, he or she must make a formal request before the court prior to the entry of the divorce decree. (Alimony in Pennsylvania is gender neutral.) If a court awarded spousal support or alimony pendente lite, which is a temporary award, you should not assume an alimony award is forthcoming. Section 3701 of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code states that a “court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.” As to the duration of an award, §3701 goes on to state that alimony may be “for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.”
Pennsylvania courts consider the following 17 factors set forth in the Divorce Code when deciding whether an alimony award “is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of” such an award:
These factors do not all carry the same weight. How they factor into an alimony award depends on the nature and circumstances of the parties. As an experienced family law attorney, I can assemble the evidence and make compelling arguments on your behalf why the court should award alimony and which factors should most affect the amount and duration. Alternately, if you are facing an alimony claim, I can advise you on the most important factors to defend against an award.
Unfortunately, the average person does not have sufficient knowledge of the laws and local procedures to adequately pursue an award or to defend against one. I have your best interests at heart and work hard to get you the best possible results.
One way to ensure you do not get hit with an adverse ruling on alimony is to negotiate or mediate a settlement with your spouse. Working with an attorney who knows the court tendencies on the alimony issue gives you an advantage in talks, and my skill as a negotiator can help you arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
In 2018, Congress changed the rules on taxing alimony payments. Previously, payers of alimony generally received a tax deduction and recipients had to report the payments as income. For alimony agreements entered into after 2018, it is anticipated that payers will lose their tax deduction and recipients get the money tax-free, based upon current versions of the law.
This new tax law may have an impact on how the courts structure future alimony awards. Under the new law, it will be vital for parties to not only have an experienced attorney helping them negotiate alimony, but they should have the advice of a tax professional who can work with their attorney to structure an alimony award-in an attempt to maximize their financial future.
Kelly Family Law, PLLC provides reliable counsel and staunch representation for parents on child support matters in Chester County and vicinity. My office is conveniently located in Exton at 600 Eagleview Boulevard, just off I-76 at the Downingtown Interchange. To schedule an appointment, call 484-899-9000 or contact my office online.