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Understanding Alimony in Pennsylvania

Alimony, also sometimes referred to as spousal support or maintenance, is handled a little differently in Pennsylvania as opposed to other states.  Once a divorce decree has been entered, the court may reasonably allow alimony, but only if it is considered necessary.  Here, in Delaware County, alimony is becoming more of a common occurrence but it is still difficult to predict when the court will give it and when they will not.  Whether a court considers alimony necessary is determined by a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Earnings of both spouses;
  • Ages and physical, emotional and mental conditions of both spouses;
  • Sources of income of both spouses;
  • Inheritances and expectancies of both spouses;
  • Marriage duration;
  • Contribution of one spouse to the training, education or increased earning power of the other;
  • Standard of living during the marriage;
  • Relative education of both spouses and the time necessary to further education or training for the spouse seeking alimony to get a job;
  • Liabilities and assets of both spouses;
  • Contribution of a spouse as a homemaker;
  • Any martial misconduct of either spouse during the marriage; and
  • Tax ramifications of the alimony award.

Alimony can be a very sensitive subject between spouses.  Although the court takes many factors into account before awarding alimony, it is possible that the arrangement could create additional disputes.  However, there are tax advantages to the spouse who pays alimony as it is deductible.  For higher wage earners, this should be a major consideration.

If you are getting a divorce in Pennsylvania and need help understanding alimony and other divorce-related matters, please contact our office to speak with one of our experienced Delaware County attorneys.

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