When it comes to settling property, alimony, and debt, Pennsylvania courts
are "equitable" courts, basically meaning that the court can
do whatever it thinks is "fair". There is nothing set in stone
or that guarantees what a court may decide is fair. When the court divides
the marital assets and debts, it may consider many factors, including
the length of the marriage and the needs of each party; the age, health,
and income of each party; who will have primary custody of the children;
and the contribution of each party to acquiring and improving the marital
property (including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker). It is
important to remember that in dividing the marital assists and debts,
the court does not consider marital misconduct before the separation.
When it comes down to it, whatever reasonable solution that you both agree
to is what will be considered "fair." Typically, the appraised
value of property is what it is actually worth on the market, and would
be used to determine its value. Most of my clients just want to be fair
and split the equity that there is down the middle equally. It's usually
the fastest and easiest way to do it. Whether this is what you both agree
to is the most important factor. There are many ways to come to an agreement
that you both think is fair.
Regarding alimony, there is no real "formula" that is set in
stone. Alimony is for supporting a spouse (wife or husband) after the
divorce is granted. A spouse is entitled to alimony only if the court
decides that alimony is "necessary." In order to decide if alimony
is necessary, the amount, and how long it should be paid, the court considers
several things - including the relative income and earning capacities
of the parties, the health and ages of the parties, the length of the
marriage, the contribution by one party to the education and training
of the other party, the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker, and the
marital misconduct of a spouse before the separation. It is very difficult
for any attorney to predict how much, if any, alimony will be awarded
by the judge.
Regarding the settlement agreement, please remember that Cairns Law Offices
only handles uncontested divorces. You both must agree, be cooperative,
and willing to be divorced. This includes your settlement agreement. We
don't handle settlement agreement disputes as part of our services.
We'd have to charge a lot more in that case. That's for full service
law firms that will charge you a bundle. If you have any questions about
settlement agreement, please call and an attorney will be happy to help
check out our blogs for more marital settlement agreement information.