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Alimony

Exton, PA Alimony Lawyer Advises Divorce Clients

Knowledgeable assistance to protect your financial rights

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.

How Pennsylvania courts decide 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:

  • The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties
  • The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties
  • The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits
  • The expectancies and inheritances of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the parties
  • The property brought to the marriage by either party
  • The contribution of a spouse as homemaker
  • The relative needs of the parties
  • The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage (The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony, except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 relating to definitions.)
  • The federal, state and local tax ramifications of the alimony award
  • Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs
  • Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment

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.

Negotiating an alimony settlement to guard against an adverse ruling

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.

New federal tax considerations related to alimony

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.

Contact an experienced family law attorney for alimony in Exton, PA.

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.

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  • Exton Office
    674 Exton Commons
    Exton, Pennsylvania 19341
    Phone: 484-899-9000
    Fax: 610-344-9299