Legal Question in Family Law in Pennsylvania

My wife and I have been married for 9 years. She cheated after 3 years and we have been seoerated ever since. We have to kids and we agreed to split custody evenly between us and I provide for them when they eith me and she does the same. No child support papers. If we divorce can she recieve alimony?

Asked on 4/13/12, 10:18 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

There are a whole host of factors to be considered. Marital misconduct is only one such factor. She also has to demonstrate financial need as well as an ability on your part to pay. You do not provide me with any of the relevant facts. My advice would be to get a family law attorney to handle the divorce and related issues.

The only bar to alimony is cohabitation (living with another person of the opposite sex) after the divorce. See 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3706 Bar to alimony

No petitioner is entitled to receive an award of alimony where the petitioner, subsequent to the divorce pursuant to which alimony is being sought, has entered into cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex who is not a member of the family of the petitioner within the degrees of consanguinity.

Otherwise, the alimony factors looked at by the court are as follows:

23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3701 Alimony

(a) General rule.--Where 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.

(b) Factors relevant.--In determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.

(2) The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.

(3) The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.

(4) The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.

(5) The duration of the marriage.

(6) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.

(7) The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.

(8) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.

(9) 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.

(10) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.

(11) The property brought to the marriage by either party.

(12) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.

(13) The relative needs of the parties.

(14) The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).

(15) The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.

(16) Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party's reasonable needs.

(17) Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.

(c) Duration.--The court in ordering alimony shall determine the duration of the order, which may be for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.

(d) Statement of reasons.--In an order made under this section, the court shall set forth the reason for its denial or award of alimony and the amount thereof.

(e) Modification and termination.--An order entered pursuant to this section is subject to further order of the court upon changed circumstances of either party of a substantial and continuing nature whereupon the order may be modified, suspended, terminated or reinstituted or a new order made. Any further order shall apply only to payments accruing subsequent to the petition for the requested relief. Remarriage of the party receiving alimony shall terminate the award of alimony.

(f) Status of agreement to pay alimony.--Whenever the court approves an agreement for the payment of alimony voluntarily entered into between the parties, the agreement shall constitute the order of the court and may be enforced as provided in section 3703 (relating to enforcement of arrearages).

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Answered on 4/13/12, 11:06 pm
Justin Gearty Law Office of Justin C Gearty Jr

Possibly. I would need more facts to say for sure. As the previous post mentioned, you should consult with a family law attorney. Also, even though the two of you agree that neither will file for support, that sort of agreement will not be binding, which means, if she changes her mind a month from now or years from now, she could go and file a petition for support with domestic relations regardless of what your agreement is. Furthermore, it would be in your best interest to have the custody agreement drafted and filed with the court and ask that it become a court order. If there is no order regarding custody, then regardless of what you agreed to, either party could deviate from that agreement.

With all of this going on, you would best be served by retaining a lawyer. If you are in the central PA area, feel free to give my office a call.

Justin C. Gearty Jr., Esquire

Ph: 717-49-6325



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Answered on 4/15/12, 8:40 am

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