I recently wrote an article on an interesting ruling in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The article showcased the cost of making mistakes in contentious divorces.

In the case, a wife had filed a complaint for divorce and, as part of the equitable distribution, the parties agreed that wife would receive survivor benefits from her husband’s pension. However, the administrator of the pension fund rejected the agreement, claiming that the terms of the plan and applicable law did not permit payment of survivor's benefits to a former spouse. The parties then discussed the possibility of the wife obtaining a life insurance policy to replace the value of the pension. However, the court directed that wife be exclusively responsible for the cost of the policy premiums. The wife argued that the cost was excessive and would not agree to make the payments. The wife further argued that the court erred in relieving the husband of his alimony pedente lite (APL) obligation prior to the divorce decree. In the end, the wife was left without either pension or insurance benefits.

Click here to read the full details of the case, where the following lessons were learned:

  1. Always make a complete record in a lower court proceeding. Rarely can you retry a case to introduce new evidence and testimony.
  2. A dependent spouse should always include a count for APL in any complaint or counter-complaint for divorce. That will preserve the claim in the event of an appeal.

The attorney you choose to represent you in any divorce is important, but especially in a contentious one. If you are seeking a Bucks County attorney for divorce proceedings, or if you have questions about domestic abuse orders, custody issues or the financial implications of divorce in Pennsylvania, we can help. Contact us at 215-340-2207 or email info@bucksfamilylawyers.com.