Alimony – Alive and Well in Pennsylvania
I am surprised by the number of prospective clients who tell me during our initial consultation that they believe that alimony does not exist in Pennsylvania. It deserves to be clearly stated that alimony is alive and well in Pennsylvania.
Alimony is a post-divorce payment made by one spouse to the other. There is no entitlement to alimony; instead it is discretionary with the court and is supposed to be based on the financial needs of the receiving spouse.
When determining whether to award alimony as part of issuing a divorce decree, the law requires the court to consider 17 factors, and those factors are stated at 23 Pa.C.S. 3701 as follows:
(1) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
(2) The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
(3) The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
(4) The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
(5) The duration of the marriage.
(6) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
(7) 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.
(8) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
(9) 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.
(10) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
(11) The property brought to the marriage by either party.
(12) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
(13) The relative needs of the parties.
(14) 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).
(15) The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
(16) 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.
(17) Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
It is important to note that a party wishing to make a claim to receive alimony payments from their spouse must file the request with the court. If the request is not timely made and a divorce decree is entered by the court, the claim for alimony may be lost.
If you have questions about alimony or any other issues related to divorce, child support or custody, you are welcome to call 215-348-1776 to schedule a consultation with Dan Keane. Dan is an experienced family law practitioner and litigator who will take the time to understand your case and assist you with understanding the law.
This article is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.