What is Alimony?

It is no surprise that money is a source of constant bickering during a divorce. Alimony, or spousal support, is the regular payment that one spouse pays to another. The spouses can either amicably agree on the amount that will be paid, or the court can make the decision if the parties cannot agree. In the state of Pennsylvania, alimony is determined either at the time of or after the final divorce decree has been entered. To find out more from our Philadelphia alimony lawyers, read on.

How is Alimony Calculated?

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Since there are no set guidelines in Pennsylvania on things such as the amount to be paid and duration of alimony, there are a number of factors that the court will look at in deciding alimony payments.

These include:

  • How long the spouses were married
  • Incomes of the spouses and their earning potential
  • Sources of income, including medical, retirement, SSI and insurance benefits
  • Age and health of the spouses, including physical, mental and emotional
  • Existing inheritances and/or future inheritances
  • Degree to which one spouse helped another further education, training or income during the marriage
  • Whether child custody affects earning potential
  • Standard of living during marriage
  • Each spouse’s assets and debts
  • Each spouse’s financial needs
  • Marital misconduct during marriage
  • Effect of alimony on taxes

While there are a majority of the factors that a court will look into, this list is not all-inclusive. In simple terms, other factors can be used to determine alimony.

How Long Will Alimony Be Paid?

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Since each divorce case is different, there’s no set of time till which alimony payments will be made. In some cases, alimony can be restricted to a defined period and sometimes, the court will order payment for an indefinite period. The state of Pennsylvania will decide that payments must be paid for a reasonable amount of time based on the spouses’ circumstances. However, there are certain situations that will end alimony automatically:

  • If the spouse receiving alimony remarries
  • If the spouse receiving alimony cohabits with a person of the opposite sex who is not a family member
  • If either spouse dies

In some divorce cases, even if the spouse who pays alimony dies, the existing order could still require that alimony be paid to the ex-spouse.

What If I am Ordered to Pay Alimony?

If you’re ordered to pay alimony, you need a good lawyer by your side who will help determine a fair and reasonable payment schedule so you won’t end up in the poorhouse. A Philadelphia family law attorney at Sadek and Cooper Law Offices will fight for your right not to end up bankrupt.

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