How Spousal Support is Determined in Pennsylvania

How Spousal Support is Determined in PennsylvaniaAlso called spousal support, alimony is an ongoing payment one spouse makes to the other to provide financial support during and/or following a divorce. If the couple can’t work it out between themselves, there are three types of support orders that may be issued by the court. If you’re seeking a divorce, a local divorce attorney can help you understand how it is determined and advise you on the options available to you.

Types of Support & How They are Calculated

Spousal support is an order that is made after parties separate, but before a divorce is final. A judge may even order it before a divorce action is filed.

Alimony pendente lite is a temporary order made after a divorce is filed but before it is finalized. Spousal support and alimony pendente lite cannot be in place at the same time.

Pennsylvania uses a specific formula to calculate spousal support and alimony pendente lite. The spouse who receives support gets 40 percent of the difference between both spouses’ monthly net income. If children are involved, it is 30 percent, as the parent providing spousal support is most likely paying child support as well.

The court also considers the needs of the spouse seeking support and the incomes of both parties. In certain circumstances that involve unusual needs or circumstances, the calculation formula may vary.

Calculating Alimony Post-Divorce

Alimony is a support order that is made at the time or after a final divorce decree is entered.

There are no specific calculations for determining whether alimony is appropriate, the amount, and the duration of payments. Pennsylvania law requires the courts to consider the following factors:

  • Both parties’ income and earning capacities
  • Both spouses’ sources of income, such as medical insurance, annuities, and other sources
  • The age of both spouses
  • The physical, mental, and emotional health of the spouses
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Whether one spouse contributed to the partnership as a homemaker
  • Expenses and limited earning capacity due to having custody of a minor child
  • Both parties’ existing inheritances and any property they are expected to inherit
  • Whether either spouse supported the other’s training, education, or increased income during the marriage
  • Both spouses’ education and how long it would take for the spouse requesting for alimony to finish the training or education required to find adequate employment
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • Assets and debts of each party
  • Separate property each person brought to the marriage
  • Each party’s financial needs
  • Misconduct that had a financial impact during the marriage
  • The tax implications of alimony for both spouses
  • Whether the spouse requesting alimony has enough property to meet reasonable needs
  • Whether the party requesting alimony is unable to support themselves through reasonable employment.

If you and your spouse owned a business together and decide to dissolve it, business dissolution lawyers or business contract lawyers can advise you on how to best protect your rights and interests.

Duration of Alimony

The duration of alimony depends on specific circumstances. An order may be ongoing with no end date or it may have a specific end date. Courts may review and modify an order if circumstances change. An alimony order will end automatically if the person receiving alimony gets married, is living with a new partner, or if either of the spouses passes away unless the order specifies that it will continue.

Do you need assistance with divorce, alimony, or other family law issues? Our team at Carosella & Associates can help.