Money can be a central theme of concern when two Pennsylvania residents divorce. The parties to the divorce may worry about how they will divide their property, how they will support their kids, and how they will receive support themselves if they do not work or have limited incomes. Pennsylvania law allows for different forms of support to be paid between spouses during and after their divorce proceedings. This post will focus on alimony, or financial support awarded after a divorce is finalized.

Alimony is not guaranteed in divorce. A party must request it in order for it to be awarded. Different factors can influence whether or not alimony is granted to a requesting party. This informational post introduces readers to some of the relevant factors for alimony determinations. No legal advice is offered in this post and family law attorneys can provide their clients with more information on this important topic.

Asking for alimony: Important factors

Alimony is generally intended to prevent a divorced party from being financially disadvantaged from ending their marriage. Often, spouses who give up their careers to stay home and raise their families find that they do not have incomes of their own to rely on when their marriages are over. Alimony paid from their exes can help them be financially stable during the uncertain times that follow divorce.

Factors that are considered when deciding if alimony should be awarded are:

  • The parties’ incomes;
  • The earning capacities of the parties;
  • The length of the parties’ marriage;
  • Misconduct or liabilities incurred by the parties;
  • The standard of living experienced during the parties’ marriage.

These factors are general. Others may be relevant to different divorce proceedings.

Alimony may not be forever

If a court chooses to award alimony to a requesting party, that party should understand the duration of their award. Some alimony awards are permanent and do not end until death terminates them. Others are temporary and intended to help recipient parties to get back on their feet after their divorces. The length of an alimony award can vary, and an individual should be clear about how long theirs will last.

Alimony is an important divorce topic. It should be discussed with one’s family law attorney before it is necessary. Different divorces will proceed on different facts, and no reader should rely on the alimony outcomes of others to guess what may happen in their own divorce case.