Alimony in Divorce: How Do I Know If I Qualify?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific formula for calculating alimony in Pennsylvania. There is no rule of thumb based on the number of years two people have been married. Instead, the court may award one party alimony in situations where it is deemed necessary. There are 17 factors which the court shall consider to determining whether it is necessary to award alimony, including:

  1. The amount of money each spouse earns, or may be able to earn in the future.
  2. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of each party.
  3. The sources of income of both parties, and whether a party receives medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  4. Whether either party has any expectancies or inheritances.
  5. The length of the marriage.
  6. Whether one party contributed to the other party’s education, training, or increased earning power.
  7. The extent to which having custody of a minor child will affect one party’s earning power, expenses or financial obligations.
  8. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
  9. Each party’s educational background and the time it would take for a lesser educated party to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment.
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either party.
  12. The contribution of one spouse as a homemaker.
  13. The relative needs of the parties.
  14. The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage.
  15. Tax ramifications of an alimony award.
  16. Whether the party seeking alimony has sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs.
  17. Whether the party seeking alimony is able to support themselves through appropriate employment.

Family law attorneys in Pennsylvania have been seeing a trend of decreasing alimony awards over the past several years. Since the purpose of alimony is not to award one party and punish the other, Pennsylvania courts have been awarding alimony more sparingly, in situations where it is necessary to assist one spouse in adjusting to living without support from the other spouse. Clients often retain preconceived notions about alimony, so it is very important to seek advice early and discuss your particular financial situation with an experienced team of family law attorneys like the litigators at Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC.

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