Not all cases involve support from one spouse to another. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially on a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case by case basis, either as the parties agree or at the court’s discretion.
Where a divorce decree has been entered the court may allow an alimony award as it deems reasonable or upon agreement of the parties.
The factors relevant in determining whether alimony is necessary or in determining the amount or duration of alimony, includes:
- Relative earnings and earning capacity of the parties;
- The ages of the parties;
- Sources of income for both parties, including but not limited to medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits, expectancies or inheritances of the parties;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party, the extent to which the earning power;
- Expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodial parent of any minor children;
- The standard of living the parties established during the marriage;
- The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment:
- The relative assets and liabilities of the parties;
- The property bought to the marriage by either party;
- The contribution of the spouse as a homemaker;
- The relative needs of the parties;
- The marital misconduct of either party during the marriage (Marital misconduct may act as a bar to alimony however marital misconduct of either of the parties after the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in any alimony determination);
- The federal, state and local tax ramifications of an alimony award;
- Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including but not limited to, property received under equitable distribution to provide for the parties’ reasonable needs; and
- Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
A monthly child support amount is determined by applying the support guidelines as divided proportionately according to each parent’s income, or assigned income level. Child support shall be awarded pursuant to a state-wide guideline as established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court so that persons similarly situated shall be treated the same. The guidelines are based upon the reasonable needs of the child seeking support and the ability of the obligor to supply support. In determining the reasonable needs of a child seeking support and the ability of the obligor to provide financial assistance, the guidelines place emphasis on the net incomes and earning capacity of the parties, with allowable deviations for unusual needs, extraordinary expenses or other factors.
If you have knowingly or unknowingly entered into a marital contract, which is illegal or void, you have the ability to ask the court to annul the marriage and declare it null and void. The grounds for annulment include: the failure of a prior marriage to be dissolved, a marriage within consanguinity guidelines prohibited, one of the parties lacks capacity by insanity or a serious mental disorder, or did not intend to consent to the marriage, one of the parties is a minor or there was fraud in the inducement of the marriage.