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Spousal Support and Alimony in Pennsylvania



While many people are familiar with the concept of alimony, alimony is only one of three types of support that can be awarded to a spouse as part of a divorce settlement. Understanding these legal concepts and your full range options as part of a divorce is the first step towards your new life. The family law attorneys of Sadek & Cooper are proud to offer their legal guidance and support to Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians who are facing the prospect of a divorce.

When you work with our legal team, you can expect responsive and personal service. Our lawyers work meticulously and strategically to achieve your goals during a divorce. We can handle alimony or spousal support negotiations and all aspects of a divorce in Pennsylvania. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with our legal team, call Sadek & Cooper at (215) 814-0395  or contact us online.

What is Alimony in Pennsylvania?

Under the laws of the state of Pennsylvania, alimony is defined as post-divorce periodic payments to a spouse. These payments are ordered or agreed to as part of a settlement agreement and do not commence until the end of the marriage.

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In Pennsylvania, no hard guidelines that dictate the exact amount of alimony that should be paid exist. Rather, the Pennsylvania state legislature has set forth in 23 Pa.C.S. 3701(b) 17 subjective factors a court may consider when deciding alimony issues. Some of the factors deemed relevant to an alimony determination include:

  • The relative earnings of the parties.
  • The relative earning capacity of the parties.
  • The age and health of the divorcing parties.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • Contributions to education or training by one party to the other.
  • Assets and liabilities of the parties.
  • The needs of the parties.

These factors are used by a court to determine the amount, if any, of an alimony award. Since they are extremely subjective in nature, strong counsel who can present evidence and argue persuasively on your behalf is essential.

Who Typically Pays Alimony?

People typically want to know whether they will be required to pay alimony following the end of the divorce proceedings. Whether you will be required to pay alimony will turn on how the judge interprets the facts and circumstances of your matter in the context of the 17 subjective factors discussed in the previous paragraph. Since there are few guidelines regarding the exact amount alimony should be in Pennsylvania, it is extremely important to ensure that your strongest arguments and evidence are presented and assessed by the court.

What Is Spousal Support or Alimony Pendente Lite (APL)?

In Pennsylvania, spousal support and alimony pendente light are extremely similar terms. In the state, spousal support and APL are the types of payments made from one spouse to the other before the divorce is final. In other words, they are temporary payments made during the separation period from one spouse to the other.

However, there are some differences between spousal support and APL. To start, APL is only available as a remedy after a divorce proceeding has commenced. By contrast, spousal support is available when a couple is merely separated prior to the commencement of the divorce proceedings. Furthermore, claims for pre-divorce spousal support are subject to more defenses including an entitlement defense based on fault grounds for divorce.

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How Much Money Can Spousal Support Provide?

The amount of spousal support a divorcing spouse can request or expect is based on the circumstances and facts of that particular situation. These facts are then applied to a statewide formula used for calculating spousal support. Essentially, spousal support and APL are calculated as 40% of the difference between the payor’s net monthly income and the recipient’s net monthly income. This variation of the formula is applied when there are no dependent children present. If dependent children have been awarded child support payments, then the income differential is reduced by the amount of child support, and the result is multiplied by 30 percent. In practice, spousal support and child support payments are often combined into an unallocated support order.

Work with an Aggressive Philadelphia Divorce Attorney

The family law and divorce lawyers of Sadek & Cooper are proud to offer legal support and guidance during a difficult and trying time in one’s life. Our lawyers are happy to explain legal concepts, how they apply to your divorce, and your legal options. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss alimony, spousal support, and other divorce concerns call our law firm at (215) 814-0395 or contact us online.


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