The Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy represents clients in matrimonial matters concerning alimony in Bucks County and Philadelphia County, PA courts.  Alimony is also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance.  After Child Custody and Visitation, alimony and Equitable Distribution of the marital assets are the most difficult issues for the parties to evaluate, negotiate and agree upon.  Usually, the spouse with the higher income pays alimony to the spouse with lower income for a period of time if there is an agreement, but the parties rarely agree on what is the adequate amount or duration of support.  Alimony is not mandatory in Pennsylvania, and the court must first determine that the award is appropriate or necessary.  Any award by the court is typically only temporary, considered “rehabilitative alimony” directed at allowing a non-working spouse to complete education and rejoin the workforce for example.

The amount and duration of the alimony also depends on the length of the marriage, standard of living during the marriage, earning capacities and assets of the spouses, the health of the spouses, and many other factors.  In fact, the courts in Pennsylvania consider a total of 17 statutory factors to decide on the issue.  Therefore, alimony is a real concern for both the paying and receiving spouses.  Under the new tax law enacted in 2018, alimony is no longer deductible for the payor and no longer considered taxable income for the payee.  To defend your rights and to protect your interests, you should discuss your circumstances with a knowledgeable matrimonial attorney.  Leonid Mikityanskiy is an experienced family law practitioner in Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia, PA.

Determining Alimony

In evaluating assets and income to determine alimony, it is often necessary to appraise property, including income-producing real estate and businesses, involving specialized appraisers in those areas.  Other financial resources of the parties are also evaluated, including money in the bank, stock investments, and pension plans.  The parties sometimes agree to variations of equitable distribution to bargain for a different support amount.  For example, the receiving spouse gets more assets but a lesser amount of alimony per month.  Other issues that are important to determine alimony are (there is some overlap with the equitable distribution factors):

  • Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements between the parties.
  • The earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
  • Age, health and capacity to work of each party.
  • Sources of income of each party.
  • Duration of the marriage.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  • Custody of the minor children.
  • Parties’ standard of living during the marriage.
  • Assets and liabilities of the parties.
  • Contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
  • Tax consequences of spousal support for each party.
  • Marital misconduct of either of the parties.

Duration of Alimony

Alimony can be temporary or rehabilitative, or, rarely, it can be permanent.  The courts in Pennsylvania have been awarding permanent alimony infrequently.  It is mostly available in instances of long marriages, where one of the spouses gave up education, career, or work to take care of the family, children, and home, and is now too old to return to the workplace.  Temporary or rehabilitative alimony is often awarded to the homemaker spouse to be able to receive education or job training to reenter the workplace and become self-supporting.  Alimony orders may be terminated or modified if the receiving spouse remarries, becomes financially-independent, or if the paying spouse’s financial circumstances change significantly, such as losing employment.

Another type of alimony that is sometimes awarded by the courts is alimony pendente lite (pending the litigation), or the temporary, short-term financial support to preserve the status quo during the divorce process.  This type of relief requires a separate petition or motion to the court.  Under the Pennsylvania statute governing such temporary alimony, the court may award attorney fees and expenses to one spouse, as well as order the continuation of health insurance coverage.

The Law Offices of Leo Mikityanskiy represents clients in matrimonial matters concerning spousal support and alimony in Bucks County and Philadelphia County, PA courts.  Contact experienced Bucks County Family Law attorney Leonid Mikityanskiy at our Feasterville, PA office at (215) 357-1400 to discuss your alimony issues today.

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