Divorce, alimony, child support, and lump sums — many people struggle through the details and consequences of these systems as they pursue a legal separation or divorce. 

In many marriages, one spouse earns more than the other. The higher-earning spouse may have relied on the other spouse to hold a less time-consuming and lower-paying job and do more of the household tasks. Similarly, one spouse may have given up career growth to be a stay-at-home parent and save the family money on childcare costs. 

When these couples divorce, the higher-earning spouse is often responsible for some form of spousal support. This support can help the other party maintain their living standard while pursuing education and career growth.  

The amount and timeline of alimony payments depend on several factors, including the length of the marriage. In some cases, higher-earning spouses can be responsible for paying permanent alimony to their spouses. 

Child support is intended to financially support a child, not the adult. There are several types of alimony and child support payment plans. Whether you should advocate for lump-sum or monthly payments in your court case depends on specific considerations. 

Benefits of a Lump-Sum Payment 

Guaranteed Money 

A lump-sum payment could be a wise choice if your ex-spouse is unstable or has a history of money trouble. It can eliminate the monthly stress of not knowing if your ex-spouse will make the required payment.  

Protects You Against Your Spouse’s Future Financial Troubles 

With uncertain financial times, there is no guarantee your ex-spouse will be able to continue making the agreed-upon monthly payments. Their business may go under, or they may make bad investments. A lump-sum payment ensures you will not be affected even if your ex comes into major financial trouble. 

Support Your Future 

Perhaps you have a major financial goal. Maybe you want to open your own business, buy a house, or go back to school. A lump-sum settlement can help you make that investment stress-free without waiting to receive alimony payments. 

Benefits of Monthly Payments 

Most of the benefits of lump sums are best suited to couples negotiating alimony. Many attorneys do not recommend a lump-sum payment for child support payments and instead recommend monthly payments. 

Best Interest of a Child 

Child support is designed to support a child’s basic life necessities, like food, housing, and education. Because these necessities remain constant throughout a child’s life, monthly payments tend to make the most sense to support a child’s best interests. 

If you have concerns about your ex-spouse’s ability to commit to monthly child support payments, an attorney can help discuss your options and rights. 

Contact an Experienced Attorney 

Divorce cases are challenging enough emotionally. Adding in the stress of negotiating spousal support and child support payments can feel very overwhelming for many people. An experienced legal team, like the lawyers at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., can help you answer any questions you have about divorce, alimony, child support, and lump sums.

Married couples tend to mix many elements of their lives: friend groups, finances, and hobbies. Some couples go even further and mix their relationship with their careers by running a business together. 

A family-owned business requires unique considerations during a divorce — the two parties aren’t just spouses; they are also business partners. The team at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., can help you navigate these legal challenges. 

No Prenup or Postnup? 

The best way to mitigate stress and contention over a family-owned business in a divorce is to create and sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement prior to the divorce, agreeing on how the two parties will divide or trade all assets. 

If you do not have either of these documents, you must determine an equitable division of assets during the divorce process. This can be much more challenging, so we recommend hiring an experienced attorney to help you through negotiations. 

Unique Challenges of Family Businesses and Divorce 

Business interests are always tricky to navigate in a divorce, especially if the business owner is the sole income provider. However, a family business owned by both parties presents its own set of considerations. A court must first determine whether the business constitutes marital property and is thus subject to equitable distribution under Pennsylvania law. 

To make this determination, a judge will consider factors like the funds used to start the business and the business’s value before, during, and after the marriage and divorce.  

Who Owns the Business? 

It is crucial to have a complete understanding of who owns the business to determine whether it is a marital asset. For example, if a trust or a previous generation owns the business, and neither party technically owns it yet, it follows different rules for property division. 


If one party inherited the business or received it as a gift, even during the marriage, the business is considered separate property, not marital property. Additionally, if one party may receive a portion of the business as an inheritance in the future, that portion also counts as separate property. 

Alimony and Child Support 

Many people wonder how the income from a family-owned business will be divided after a divorce. If you are pursuing a divorce, you can use your ex-spouse’s salary for alimony and child support settlements. 

What If the Business Goes Under? 

Some people try to continue co-owning the business after a divorce when considering the division of assets. Others opt to receive a business valuation and have one partner buy out the other’s portion. If you choose to do this, you can receive a lump-sum payment upfront and avoid any financial repercussions if the business goes under. 

There are always complicating factors when pursuing a divorce. Tied-up assets, like co-owning a business, can make an already-challenging process even more complex. Reaching out to a trusted divorce attorney from Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C. can help you navigate dividing a family-owned business during a divorce with confidence. Call or email today. 

Divorce is a challenging process, both emotionally and legally. Many people wonder how they can speed up the divorce process. The time it takes to get divorced will vary depending on a variety of factors, including whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. Here in Pennsylvania, Act 102 changed the waiting period for a contested divorce from two years to one year. After being separated for one year, someone can lawfully file for a contested divorce and begin legal proceedings.  

However, an uncontested divorce will almost always take less time than a contested one — on average, around 4-6 months. If you are looking to expedite the process, we recommend pursuing an uncontested divorce. This means you must agree with your soon-to-be ex-spouse about the grounds and terms of the divorce, including asset distribution and child visitation schedules. 

An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and negotiate a divorce agreement efficiently. You must be prepared to take a couple of steps before beginning this process. 

Commit To Negotiating 

It’s important to have realistic expectations when you file for divorce. With so many legal elements involved, like child custody agreements, child support payments, property division, and alimony, even the most amicable of divorces can lead to disagreements during negotiation. From the beginning, anticipate that you will need to make some concessions. 

Find Emotional Support 

Making compromises during negotiations can feel particularly challenging when emotions are running high. Seek out emotional support from friends, family, and loved ones. Their support can ground you when you feel stuck, making it easier to work toward settlement agreements and obtain a fast divorce. 

Do Your Research 

When it comes to child support and visitation rights, both parties in a divorce have a right to spend time with their children, as well as a responsibility to contribute financially. Your legal team must have a clear picture of your financial situation. 

Share baseline truths about your finances with your divorce attorney. Come to meetings prepared with tax documents and receipts. Being honest about your finances, with documents to back it up, will help speed up your divorce by eliminating future surprises. 

Avoid a Long Battle 

Above all, don’t just accept that all divorce cases will be long, arduous battles. This does not have to be the case and is usually unnecessary. Drawing out the process will cost both parties a lot of money, time, and stress.  

By entering divorce discussions with a fully informed legal team and an expectation that you will need to compromise, you are setting yourself up for a smooth and quick divorce. 

Contact an Experienced Bucks County Divorce Lawyer 

The legal professionals at Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., are experienced in helping clients navigate the legal systems of divorce. We prioritize clients’ peace of mind and well-being. Call or email us today for a confidential discussion to address your concerns and learn more about how we can help you speed up your divorce. 

A divorce allows you to start your life over, but your old, married life will impact that new one. Think about how untangling your life from your spouse will affect you legally and financially. What will you not have, or not have enough of, to start this new life?

You can break down what to ask for in a settlement agreement regarding parental roles and property rights or prioritize your ask based on needs and wants.

What Do You Need? What Do You Want?

Think about your priorities. What do you need, and what do you want but can go without? Nearly all divorce cases are settled without going to trial. That means there will be negotiations (and possibly mediation) between you and your spouse through your attorneys.

In any negotiation, there are things that a party needs (or thinks they need) to resolve the issue. Other issues are negotiable, and you should be willing to give things up as necessary to satisfy your needs. After your needs are met, try to obtain what you want. Ideally, both sides will get most of what they need and some of what they want.

State law may entitle you to certain things. If those laws address your needs, that is great! If not, and you are willing to part with the things given to you by state law (partially or totally), they can be bargaining chips to ensure your needs are met.

It is like a chess match. You must protect your king. All the other pieces are expendable if that means you win the game. In this case, winning satisfies your needs, and you are in the best position to start your new life.

What Role Must You Play With Your Kids?

If you have kids, Pennsylvania law makes your child’s interests paramount, so what you need or want takes a back seat. State law presumes a child needs both parents in their lives.

The more time you feel you need with your child, and the more significant role you wish to play, the stronger the facts and legal arguments must be to accomplish that. Unless the other parent is irresponsible or a potential danger to your child, you may have a tough time if you feel a need to be the sole parent or the other parent should have minimal contact with their child.

Most parents meet in the middle. They share legal custody (the ability to make crucial decisions), but their physical custody or parental time may vary. One parent may spend most of the time with the child, or it may be split evenly.

What are Your Financial Needs?

The distribution of a married couple’s debts and assets is supposed to be based on what is equitable and fair, given the situation. When negotiating a settlement, there is a mix of what a person may be entitled to and what they are willing to trade with their spouse to achieve their needs and wants.

You may need more financial help in the short term, so you may forego the ongoing income of spousal support to get more cash or assets upfront. If you need the marital home, what assets will you swap to get it? Ideally, a spouse who needs the home is married to someone who wants to move away and start over, so the marital home (with all the memories that come with it) is the last thing they want.

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust  

If you think getting divorced may be in your future or have decided it is the next step, call us at (215) 608-1867. We can discuss your situation via teleconference, on the phone, or in our Doylestown or Langhorne office.