Alimony Attorney in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Ending a marriage can be an emotional and trying time. There are many legal and binding decisions, including the possibility of alimony and child support. The division of marital assets is also an important objective.
All of these issues can be addressed and resolved by the spouses themselves or through court-ordered mandates. Deciding everything on your own is known as an uncontested divorce; having a family law judge decide everything is known as a contested divorce.
Alimony requires one spouse to pay a monthly stipend to the other spouse to maintain that spouse’s standard of living while trying to move ahead on their own. Alimony can be temporary or permanent. Alimony can be deemed permanent if the receiving spouse is disabled or otherwise unable to establish an economic life of their own.
If you are considering divorce, have been served divorce papers, or are entering the process in or around Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, contact us at the Law Office of MariAnn Hathaway.
Our family law attorney can help you sort through the many issues involved in the dissolution of your marriage, including alimony, and then propose an equitable resolution and help you fight for it. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout Washington County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Overview of Alimony in Pennsylvania
Alimony helps an estranged spouse continue a semblance of the lifestyle they enjoyed while married, while the other spouse pursues their own path to self-sufficiency. Many people probably view alimony as the result of an acrimonious legal battle in a family law court.
While this is certainly one aspect of spousal support, an alimony arrangement can also be made outside of a judge’s ruling. As mentioned earlier, an uncontested divorce can include a settlement agreement between the spouses that is presented to the family law judge for approval. So long as it is not too one-sided, the court will likely approve the agreement, including any alimony arrangement.
Types of Alimony Available
Alimony, of course, can be temporary or permanent, as briefly discussed above. A temporary alimony payment gives the recipient spouse time to get the education or training needed to land a sustaining type of employment or to give that spouse time to take care of family obligations such as caring for minor children.
Permanent alimony is reserved for those situations in which the spouse is deemed to be unlikely to achieve the status of self-sufficiency. Disability, old age, and other considerations can play into a permanent alimony award.
Another type of alimony in Pennsylvania is called pendente lite alimony. This type of alimony must be paid by one spouse to the other while the divorce is in progress. Pendente lite alimony is designed to help the recipient spouse maintain their standard of living and pay an attorney or other fees. This helps ensure the spouse doesn’t become economically disadvantaged while undergoing the divorce process. However, it may or may not necessarily lead to a post-divorce alimony arrangement or decree.
Though many states equate spousal support with alimony, in Pennsylvania, spousal support is an agreement or award that can occur when spouses have separated but have not yet filed for divorce. It cannot be paid or ordered at the same time as pendente lite alimony.
Who Is Entitled to Alimony?
Pennsylvania’s Statutes Section 3701 decrees that “[w]here a divorce decree has been entered, the court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.” In other words, the party requesting alimony must show that it is “necessary.” To show that it is necessary, the requester must meet several “relevant factors” as detailed in the code.
A reliable family law attorney can review your case and deem how alimony is necessary for your situation.
Factors in Determining Alimony
If the spouses agree to an alimony/divorce settlement agreement, they can hopefully avoid the legal complications of doing so in a courtroom battle. However, if the family law judge is presented with an alimony request or is reviewing a settlement agreement, they are, by law, required to consider several factors. These factors include but are not limited to:
The earnings and earning capacities of both spouses, including retirement accounts and inheritances, along with ongoing benefits, including medical.
The ages, mental, physical, and emotional conditions of each spouse.
Duration of the marriage.
Education, training, and occupational achievements of each spouse.
Contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other.
The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of one of the spouses will be affected by having to care for a minor child.
Standard of living during the marriage.
When Does Alimony End?
If an alimony award or agreement is contingent upon the recipient’s achieving a certain standard of education or employment, it may include an end date or an end date based upon such a contingency. If it is permanent, it will end upon the death of either party. Also, an alimony decree or agreement will end when the recipient remarries or cohabitates in a marriage-like relationship.
Alimony Attorney Serving Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
If divorce is looming or already in progress in or around Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, contact the legal team at the Law Office of MariAnn Hathaway. With three decades of experience serving clients undergoing divorce, we can help you achieve the best possible result for everyone involved, including any agreement for alimony.