Our most recent Superior Court opinon is from the 2011 case of Kent v. Kent.. In that case, we argued that the trial court was right to accept our argument that wife's home schooling should not necessarily lead to extended alimony. The Superior Court affirmed our view.
In Kent v. Kent (March 18, 2011), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania rejected the argument that a parent should be entitled to collect alimony for a period of eleven years so that she could continue to homeschool the parties' minor children.
Wife was healthy, held a Masters Degree and had taught for 10 years. Wife had left the workforce to homeschool the parties' children. The parties were on a tight budget. Indeed, without returning to work, niether husband or wife could budget for the kids' college or maintain any financial cushion. The trial court only awarded Wife limited alimony to permit wife to return to work and rejected wife's requested 11 years of alimony.
The Superior Court agreed that alimony is intended to support a spouse who otherwise cannot support herself through employment. Otherwise, there was little controlling caselaw, so the arguments were mostly factual.
Examining wife's work history, the Superior Court recognized that wife was capable of returning to work and the Superior Court affirmed that trial court's finding in favor of husband. The Court also endorsed our view that economic decisions made during the intact marriage are not necessarily viable when the family breaks into two separate households. The Court also recognized that wife was confusing the issues of child support and alimony.
The Court emphasized that its decision was not a referendum on homeschooling, but a simple affirmance of the trial courts application of statutory criteria. Husband also prevailed on the issues of dividend income and counsel fees.
You can read the entire Kent decision as set forth by the Superior Court here.