Spousal Support & Alimony in Pennsylvania Divorce Cases
Financial security is just one of the many issues that arise in divorce matters in Pennsylvania, including Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia counties.
Many people are familiar with the terms alimony and spousal support, but what these terms mean is not always clear. Depending on the situation and financial circumstances, Pennsylvania family law courts can order spousal support, alimony pendente lite or alimony. Whether you are new to the family law process or a veteran of the family court system, understanding the different types of support in Pennsylvania is critical to your divorce case.
Related Client Review: “I retained Inna back in April 2022 for my separation and divorce. I immediately knew I made the right choice. Inna hit the ground running and started to make an immediate impact. She helped me get a custody agreement in place for my kids, she filed motions to help my case move along. Inna is a world-class attorney. Her professionalism and attention to detail are second to none. Inna also is your advocate. She provides you a level of service I did not experience with other attorneys. Inna sets the bar for what good looks like. Inna was able to help me settle my case after a long year of several attorneys and disappointments. I am able to move forward and rebuild my life because of Inna. I have worked with attorneys for 14 years in my career and Inna is one of the best I have ever worked with.” Jason W. (Oct. 2022)
Types of Support in Divorce Matters
Spousal Support – Spousal support is available to spouses by virtue of their married relationship, whether or not a divorce is filed. There are some defenses to spousal support and it is important to understand them before seeking this type of support.
Alimony Pendente Lite – Also referred to as “APL”, alimony pendente lite is support available to the dependent spouse during the pendency of a divorce proceeding. Because of this, APL is only available after a Divorce Complaint has been filed and the divorcing spouses have separated households.
Alimony – Alimony is post-divorce support from one ex-spouse to another ex-spouse as part of their divorce resolution. Alimony, unlike the other types of support above, is not based on guidelines or mathematical formulas. Rather, it is based on the court evaluating seventeen different factors found in Section 3701 of the Divorce Code.
Seventeen Factors in Determining Alimony in a Pennsylvania Divorce Case
Section 3701 of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code
1. The relative earnings of both spouses.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The ages and physical, mental and emotional states of the two spouses.
4. The sources of income of both spouses. This includes medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
5. The expected future earnings and inheritances of the two spouses.
6. The degree to which one spouse has contributed to the other spouse’s education, training or increased earning potential.
7. The degree to which a spouse will be financially affected by their position as the custodian of a minor child.
8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage.
9. The relative education of the parties. This also considers the amount of time it would take for the spouse seeking alimony to acquire the education or training necessary to find employment.
10. The relative assets and liabilities of the two spouses.
11. The property each spouse brought to the marriage.
12. The degree a spouse contributed as a homemaker.
13. The relative needs of the two spouses.
14. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses during the marriage. “Abuse” as in this context shall have the meaning given to it under Section 6102.
15. The federal, state and local tax consequences of the alimony.
16. Whether the spouse seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including items in Chapter 35 relating to property rights, to provide for their reasonable needs.
17. Whether the spouse seeking alimony is incapable of supporting themselves through appropriate employment.
Montgomery County, PA Divorce Lawyer
For over a decade, firm founder Inna Materese has focused exclusively on family and divorce law in Pennsylvania. She is the Treasurer of the Montgomery County Bar Association Family Law Section and has presented a variety of Continuing Legal Education courses, including:
— Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements (2022)
— “Dysfunctional” Family Law (2021)
— Third Parties in Custody Cases (2020)
— The Math of Divorce (2016)
— Tax Implications in Divorce (2015)
Our Montgomery County Family Law Firm accepts clients across the county, including: Ambler, Blue Bell, Collegeville, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, King of Prussia, Lansdale, Oreland, Plymouth Meeting, Willow Grove, as well as the Main Line: Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Merion, Narberth.
Pennsylvania Family & Divorce Law
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