Alimony Lawyer in Media, PA Securing the Support to Which You Are Entitled
Explaining spousal support in Media, PA
Because the term for alimony varies among states, many Pennsylvanians are unsure about the type of support payments they are seeking and what exactly they should ask for in court. While many clients ask about “spousal support,” what they are actually concerned about typically includes both spousal support, alimony pendente lite and alimony. At the Varga Law Offices, we have guided many Delaware County residents through the divorce process to ensure that they understand each step along the way.
What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?
The three types of spousal payments in Pennsylvania are often confused. They are:
- Spousal support: Spousal support payments are made only prior to the entry of the divorce decree. This type of support can be requested even though a divorce action has not been filed; however, the requesting party must prove that they are legally entitled to such support.
- Alimony: Alimony is only paid after the divorce decree is entered and final. Alimony is not guaranteed and depends upon proving various factors during the equitable distribution hearing.
- Alimony pendent lite (APL): APL may be awarded prior to the divorce to ensure that both spouses have the financial ability to litigate their divorce. In order to request APL, a divorce action has to be filed. Unlike spousal support, the requesting party does not have to prove that they are legally entitled; only that they earn less than the other spouse.
Thus, spousal support plus APL and alimony cover most potential support payments both before and after the divorce. In addition, the way the benefits are calculated also differs. For spousal support and APL, Pennsylvania uses a formula to determine the award amount. Alimony is calculated in a different way and is very subjective.
How is alimony calculated in Pennsylvania?
Alimony in Pennsylvania is not determined by any set calculations. Instead, Pennsylvania law gives broad discretion to judges to set the type, amount and duration of alimony payments based on a list of 17 factors including:
- The income and earning capacities of each spouse
- The age and physical, mental and emotional health of each spouse
- The sources of income, including benefits such as retirement, medical and insurance of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Whether either spouse helped the other for training, education, or increased income during the marriage
- Whether a spouse has expenses and/or a limited earning ability due to having custody of a minor child
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The presence of marital misconduct during the marriage
While Pennsylvania allows no-fault divorce, marital misconduct such as adultery, abandonment or abuse can be considered for alimony purposes. In addition, while the alimony may last for only a reasonable time period, the order is not required to include an end date but most times it does. However, certain events can bring an automatic end to the alimony payments such as if the receiving spouse:
- Cohabitates with a person of the opposite sex or even the same sex in an intimate relationship who is not a family member
- Passes away
Alimony payments can be modified in certain circumstances and cease if the paying spouse dies unless a court order exists that authorizes continued payment from the estate.
Contact our firm today for alimony and spousal support guidance in Media, PA
Alimony, APL, and spousal support can be essential parts of establishing two family units from one. The Varga Law Offices has helped numerous Pennsylvanians understand and secure spousal support, APL, and alimony payments. Our office is conveniently located in Media, PA near the county courthouse and is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with additional hours by appointment. Contact us today by phone at 610.892.9909 or online.