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Alimony in Pennsylvania and elsewherein short, is regularly scheduled monetary payments in specified amounts for a specified period of time from one ex-spouse to another ex-spouse. Married people have a legal duty of support of, to and for one another.
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Alimony, payments to or from someone to whom one is no longer married, only becomes required if the divorce court orders it to be paid or if the divorcing couple enters a binding, professionally created, written agreement for the payment of alimony. When one spouse decides that he or she no longer wants to be married and tells that to the other spouse, among other things to be considered, alimony might be discussed.
Typically, alimony might be wanted by the spouse who has the smaller income. Accordingly, if it is the spouse with the greater income who wants begins the divorce process, the spouse with the lesser income may well be in the position to make the payment of alimony a condition of agreeing not to contest the divorce. Like most things in life, if we want something, we usually must give up something to get it. A spouse may agree to pay alimony for any of reasons. Generosity or feeling guilty are two of the common reasons.
Another spouse may agree to pay alimony because he or she considers it the right thing to do. Yes, alimony is gender-neutral.
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Either party may be the more successful one in a marriage. Perhaps more often than not, the more well-off spouse would rather not pay any alimony.
The payment of alimony could well be part of that picture. That last phrase may be found to be troubling for some readers and encouraging for others.
I will explain soon. First, as I have alluded to hereinabove several times, compare the incomes of the spouses. It is not all that rare for one spouse to have a well-paying professional career and for the other to have stayed home during the 30 or 40 years of marriage caring for the children and home and now being with no qualifications for reasonable employment. Next to consider is the length of the marriage. The ages and physical, mental and emotional states of each party may come into play.
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You can imagine the possible scenarios. A divorce happens in a classic May-December marriage wherein the 75 year old professional spouse is asked for alimony by the 25 year old unemployed spouse after one year of marriage. Or, after 30 years of marriage, the working spouse wants out and the other has such severe mental problems that gainful employment is not possible.
Also to be added in is what each party can be expected to earn in the future as well as what each could possibly inherit from a relative or friend. Future earnings predictions will largely depend upon what a party is earning now and how long the party has had that job. In other words, how secure is that employment?
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Future inheritances are a bit of a roll of the dice. You know that does happen. A change in the will is coming fast. This is common among young divorcing couples: One party is given custody of one or more young children and caring for them limits income possibilities.
Not only might that spouse deserve some financial help through alimony, but the alimony helps the children be raised by a parent rather than relatives, friends or even strangers standing in.
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The court recognizes the value of children being raised by a parent and could act on that need. It really would not be fair for the paying spouse to golf every weekend at a private country club while the other has to cut out coupons to afford an occasional round of miniature golf. What about the educational or training level of each spouse? If one is a surgeon and the other is a nursing home assistant, you can guess at the result; moreover, it may have been a plan in the works during the marriage for the low level income spouse, who had finished college, to attend dental school.
It is possible that the court may think it fair that alimony help make that education happen.
Sometimes one spouse might bring the marital residence into the marriage from before the wedding, maybe a nice place with four bedrooms, two and a half baths, a three-car garage, all paid for and in a nice neighborhood. The medical needs of a party can even enter into the calculations. A legitimate health or even special need to maintain a normal personal appearance, such as a spouse who suffered the loss of a limb during the marriage.
What the misconduct was, how often it occurred, how long it went on and even when the other spouse found out about it can play a part. Now, a spouse who unquestionably did not care about the adulterous conduct of the other spouse may not now be able to complain about it, but if that conduct was to have been only recently discovered after it had been going on for years and is even the reason for wanting the divorcethe court could decide to reduce or even deny alimony.
A more clear example of such a decision is physical abuse and living under the genuine threat of it. That could be costly to the abusive spouse from whom alimony is sought. There can be tax consequences for the payment or receipt of alimony and how that would affect either spouse should be considered and it could affect the amount paid after considering the tax brackets of the parties.
The same reasoning would apply to goodly amounts in bank s, stocks and bonds etc. And finally, if a spouse seeking alimony is able to support him or herself, but choose not to do so, the judge is likely to peer down from the bench and tell that spouse that the court will only help those who help themselves…get a job. Frankly, it is all common sense when one thinks about it and is based upon economic fairness.
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Using this information, a divorcing couple should be able to arrive at a mutually satisfactory alimony plan and, in doing so, will save thousands by not having lawyers and the court do it for them. Get my free information guide by filling out the form below. In it, you'll find all the details you need to make this important decision in your life at no cost to you. We have all heard different stories about how some people whom we may know, know of, or heard about, either firsthand or from someone other than one of the former spouses or even from TV, books or newspapers, or other writings, got an annulment instead of a divorce It is a common misconception that a divorce has to be filed where the marriage took place.
That is not the case and never has been!
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A divorce is a legal action. Legal actions may be filed only in the jurisdiction your state, NOT your county where one resides. Even if real estate, the marital residence or former marital residence if one party has moved out has multiple mortgages, lines of credit or home equity loans and even if one is in such a home "upside-down", names can be added to or removed from the deed.
The loans, Get Your Free Information Guide.
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Free Information Guide. Related Posts. I would like to receive a hard copy of the free information. Davis Divorce Law. Suite Pittsburgh, PA Latest News. May 20, We have all heard different stories about how some people whom we may know, know of, or heard about, either firsthand or from someone other than one of the former spouses or even from TV, books or newspapers, or other writings, got an annulment instead of a divorce Same-Sex Divorce.