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Pennsylvannia's Original eDivorce℠ Lawyer


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 you. Also, check out our blogs for more marital settlement agreement information.

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