ChesterNewMatterSummer2017 - 14

CCBA Feature

Differences in Delaware and
Pennsylvania Family Laws
By Patrick J. Boyer, Esquire
MacElree Harvey, Ltd.


aws governing divorce, custody, and child support issues
differ significantly from state to state. Therefore, in
family law cases that involve multiple states, the laws of
one state may work to the advantage of one party, and to the
disadvantage of the other. This can certainly be true regarding
domestic relations laws of Delaware and Pennsylvania. Below
are a few areas of significant difference between Delaware and
Pennsylvania law.
Both Delaware and Pennsylvania laws provide that a
financially disadvantaged spouse can receive support from
a financially advantaged spouse during the pendency of and
following divorce.
Delaware has no formula for alimony, while the divorce and

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financial matters are pending (interim alimony), nor following
the resolution of financial matters (permanent alimony).
Rather, both interim and permanent alimony are determined
by the needs of the financially disadvantaged spouse and
the ability to pay of the financially advantaged spouse. If
the financially disadvantaged spouse can demonstrate that
she or he cannot maintain the same standard of living with
their own financial resources, that individual is considered a
dependent spouse and thus eligible for interim and permanent
alimony. If the financially disadvantaged spouse cannot
establish dependency, no alimony will be awarded, regardless
of the financial resources of the other spouse. Assuming that
dependency is established, the financial resources and needs
of both spouses will be examined in order to determine the
proper, alimony awarded.
In Delaware, interim alimony can be awarded from the
time that a divorce petition is filed until the final resolution
of the financial matters associated with divorce. Permanent
alimony is determined in the final resolution of financial
matters. Any form of alimony will terminate upon the death
of either party, the recipient's remarriage, or the recipient's
cohabitation. Additionally, if the marriage lasted less than 20
years, any alimony awarded cannot exceed 50% of the length of

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