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Kardos, Rickles & Hand Bucks County Divorce Attorney
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Montgomery County Spousal Support & Alimony Attorney

Financial support to a former spouse is one of the most controversial issues in a divorce matter. Some people, mostly obligees, believe alimony is absolutely essential to an equitable division of the marital estate. Other people, mostly obligors, view these payments as a financial penalty. As outlined below, Pennsylvania spousal support is essentially a balance between these two extremes.

The bottom line is that both obligors and obligees have legal and financial rights in these situations. So, no matter what is at stake for you, the Montgomery County spousal support & alimony attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand serve as a strong voice for you. We project that voice during court hearings and negotiation sessions. As a result, we often obtain results which exceed our clients’ expectations.

Pre-Divorce Spousal Support

While the case is pending, many obligees (people who receive spousal support) need immediate financial assistance with divorce-related expenses. Examples include attorneys’ fees, rental property deposits, and childcare costs.

If the obligee has a financial need, the judge could order alimony payments which automatically terminate when the divorce is finalized. These payments are usually based on a formula which considers the income of both spouses and a few other variables. If these variables change, the amount of payments could change as well.

The facts of the case often make it easier or harder to establish a financial need. If Wife contemplated a no-fault divorce several months before filing, it is harder for her to claim that she was financially blindsided. The opposite could be true if Wife left Husband after a violent domestic dispute.

Frequently, evidence on these points is sketchy at the temporary hearing, when most judges set alimony payments. This proof often comes into play at a subsequent modification hearing.

Post-Divorce Alimony

Under Pennsylvania law, the divorce cannot be an unfair financial burden on either spouse. That mandate is often impossible to fulfill unless the judge equalizes post-divorce income, at least to an extent and at least for a little while.

As a result, either rehabilitative alimony or permanent alimony could be available. Rehabilitative alimony is essentially like extended temporary alimony. These payments help obligee spouses complete degrees or take other steps necessary for economic self-sufficiency. Permanent alimony, which is usually not “permanent,” is often available if the obligee spouse is unable to become self-sufficient due to his/her own severe disability or custody of a child who requires constant care.

Overall, to determine the amount and duration of post-divorce support payments, the judge weighs the obligee’s economic needs against the obligor’s (person paying support) ability to pay. Some specific factors include:

  • Relative earning capacity of each spouse,
  • Both spouses’ income sources,
  • Relative age and health of each spouse,
  • Duration of the marriage,
  • Noneconomic contributions to the relationship,
  • Standard of living during the marriage, and
  • Fault in the breakup of the relationship.

As mentioned, permanent alimony is usually not permanent. Instead, these payments could terminate if the obligee spouse remarries or if the obligee spouse is in a committed, financial supportive relationship with another person.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Financial support is an important issue for both spouses. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Montgomery County, contact Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Convenient payment plans are available.

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