When you get married you are not only becoming a couple in the eyes of the law, but you are also becoming a couple oftentimes in the eyes of the bank. Couples commonly mix their assets and it is not uncommon for one spouse to support the other. However, while this is generally not a problem while the couple is in wedded bliss, if the marriage ends in divorce there may be some difficult issues to address in regards to your finances. A common issue and question that arises is alimony, what it is, and when you are entitled to it.
A Philadelphia divorce lawyer of Sadek & Cooper Law Offices is experienced in representing the legal needs of our clients in the Greater Philadelphia area. If you are considering filing for divorce, have been served with divorce papers, are paying, or receiving alimony payments and have questions and concerns, contact one of our experienced attorneys today. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Philadelphia divorce lawyer regarding your legal matter please call our primary Philadelphia law office at 215-814-0395.
What is Alimony?
When you get married in Pennsylvania you are not only becoming legally married but you ate also becoming economically married. In this regards when a couple is married their finances often become intertwined and one spouse may become economically dependent on the other. However, when a couple files for divorce it may be easy for the couple to physically separate, but it may be far more complex for the couple to financially separate. This is particularly true when one spouse has become financially dependent on the other.
Alimony which is a synonymous term with spousal support is a regular payment that one spouse makes to the other spouse in order to provide financial support during and after a divorce. Alimony is never guaranteed unless the couple has entered into a prenuptial agreement dictating that spousal support payments will be made to the other upon divorce, rather, alimony is entirely discretionary.
Is there a Time Requirement for Alimony?
As stated above, there is no absolute requirement for alimony payments in Pennsylvania, rather, the judge will determine if alimony payments are necessary and appropriate by weighing seventeen separate and distinct factors stated in Section 3701 of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. The seventeen factors are as follows:
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
- The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
- The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
- The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
- The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
- The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
- The property brought to the marriage by either party.
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
- The relative needs of the parties.
- The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony, except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
- The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
- Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
- Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
Notably, the fifth factor the judge will weigh when they are determining alimony is, “the duration of the marriage.” There is a general rule of thumb for practice and applying this factor. For every three years of marriage, a party may be entitled to one year of alimony. However, this is not an absolute rule to follow but is merely a phrase and general concept that many practicing Philadelphia alimony lawyers use when they are arguing for alimony.
Considering Filing for Divorce and have Questions about Alimony for a Philadelphia Divorce Attorney?
If you are considering filing for divorce or have been served with divorce papers you may have questions regarding spousal support and alimony in Pennsylvania. Contact us at Sadek and Cooper to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who is experienced on both sides of the courtroom. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Philadelphia divorce lawyer regarding your legal matter please call our primary Philadelphia law office at 215-814-0395.