Alimony is a form of support paid by one former spouse to another after a divorce. It is intended so that, if one of the spouses in the divorce is in an economically weaker position, that spouse will still be able to support himself or herself. It is a monthly payment. The court determines the payment amount based on the evidence presented by both spouses. Whether you are seeking alimony or if your ex-spouse is seeking to obtain it from you, an aggressive, knowledgeable attorney could make a big difference in how fair your result will be.
Chester County Alimony Lawyer
With Ciccarelli Law Offices, you can rest assured that a highly experienced divorce lawyer in West Chester will represent your interests and fight for you to get the best outcome. If you’re seeking to require your ex-spouse to pay alimony, we’ll fight for you to get your fair share. If your ex-spouse is seeking payments from you, we’ll argue to keep you from paying more than you should or anything at all. We can also represent you if you seek to modify an alimony order. Our team approach ensures that there’s more than one lawyer’s experience on your side.
Call (610) 692-8700 or send an online message for a free consultation so we can act as soon as possible. We are based in West Chester PA and serve clients throughout Chester County, Lancaster County and suburban Philadelphia including West Chester, Kennett Square, Oxford, Avondale, Landenberg, West Grove, Paoli, Malvern, Downingtown, Coatesville, Exton, Parkesburg, Berwyn and Devon. We have convenient meeting locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, and Radnor. Our family lawyers serve those with immediate legal needs in Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Lancaster County.
Information on Pennsylvania’s Alimony Laws
How Does Pennsylvania Determine Alimony?
There are 17 factors that the court may use to determine alimony, listed in Pennsylvania Statutes Title 23, Section 3701. They are:
- The income and earning capacity of each spouse.
- Each spouse’s age and physical, mental and emotional condition.
- The sources of income for each spouse, including benefits.
- Expectancies and inheritances for each spouse.
- The length of the marriage.
- The contribution of either spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other. For example, whether one spouse worked to put the other spouse through medical school.
- Whether either spouse will serve as custodian to a child.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The education of each spouse, and the time it would take for the spouse seeking alimony to get the education or training required for proper employment.
- The assets and liabilities of each spouse.
- The separate property of each spouse from before the marriage.
- The contributions of either spouse as a homemaker.
- The needs of each spouse.
- Any marital misconduct before the divorce was filed. This is one of the few instances when fault may be considered for a divorce.
- Tax ramifications.
- Whether the spouse seeking alimony has insufficient property to provide for his or her needs.
- Whether the spouse seeking alimony is not capable of supporting himself or herself.
The court may take one or all of these matters into consideration, and each situation will be different. The court could decide to grant a large monthly payment or none at all. There is no difference in the way the Pennsylvania law treats people based on sex — both husbands and wives may be ordered to pay alimony to spouses.
Alimony is ordered once the divorce is final. However, while the divorce is actually being litigated, the court may order one of the parties to pay a certain amount to the other spouse so that the spouse is able to meet basic needs. This is called alimony pendente lite.
The court may order payments for a finite amount of time. For instance, if the court determines that payments are necessary to sustain Spouse A while he or she goes to school for the next three years, but will not be necessary once he or she gets a degree, the court may order Spouse B to pay alimony for only three years.
Or, the court could determine that Spouse A is disabled and cannot earn enough to sustain himself or herself, and order Spouse B to pay alimony for the rest of Spouse A’s life.
Under Pennsylvania law, if a divorcing spouse moves in with a person of the opposite sex who is not his or her relative, that spouse may not receive alimony. Remarriage also terminates this court order.
Modification of Alimony Payments
Circumstances change, and people become less able to make payments, more able, or the person receiving may no longer need it. Pennsylvania law allows for alimony modification, suspension, termination or reinstitution upon any substantial and continuing change in either spouse’s circumstances.
For example, Spouse A, an engineer, makes substantially more money than Spouse B, a teacher, and is ordered to pay alimony after a divorce. However, Spouse A then loses her job. Spouse A files to have alimony suspended, which the court grants. Spouse B discovers that Spouse A has been hired again, and files for reinstitution. Spouse A then finds out that Spouse B has been promoted to principal and makes more money, so she files for a modification so that she is not required to pay as much. Spouse B sells a book and becomes a millionaire, so Spouse A files to have the payments terminated.
Finding an Alimony Attorney in Chester County, Pennsylvania
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, we can represent you on all matters, whether you’re seeking payments, trying to defend yourself against demands for payments, or are seeking modification or enforcement of alimony orders. Our family attorneys proudly fight on behalf of clients in West Chester, Phoenixville, Coatesville, Paoli, Lititz, Landenberg, Paoli, Exton, Downingtown, Villanova, Media, Newtown Square, Glen Mills, and nearby areas. Call us today at (610) 692-8700 to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation with an experienced family lawyer from our law firm.