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What factors will courts consider when awarding alimony?

| Nov 16, 2020 | Alimony

When a person in the Pittsburgh area decides to divorce, they may be very concerned with what their financial life will look like post-divorce. This may be especially true if they earn significantly less than their ex, or if they have been out of the workforce while married to care for the household. In such situations, a person may choose to pursue alimony. In Pennsylvania Alimony is a secondary remedy. During the divorce process the lower income earner spouse is entitled to APL or Alimony Pendente Lite which means income during the divorce process. This is very different than Alimony which is a monthly amount after the divorce.

When will courts award alimony?

However, Pennsylvania courts will only award alimony if it is deemed necessary to do so. There are 11 factors for the court to consider when determining whether an award of alimony is justified and the length and amount of the award. These factors are statutory and therefore not discretionary.

Factors considered when awarding alimony

When deciding whether to award alimony, courts will consider the income and earning capacity of each party, as well as their sources of income, assets and debts. The length of time the parties were married, and the ages of the children is a significant factor. If a party contributed to the other party’s schooling, training, or other increase in that party’s earning capacity, this may also be considered, as will the contribution of the party seeking alimony as a homemaker. In addition, the time it will take for the party seeking alimony to seek the education or training necessary to become self-sufficient may be considered, including whether self-support is an option at all. Alimony is a secondary remedy to the Equitable Distribution award so if there are sufficient assets in the marital estate, the lower income earner spouse can be given an eschewed distribution in their favor.

Each party’s age and health may also be considered as will the length of their marriage. If a party anticipates receiving an inheritance or if they already received an inheritance, this will be considered. In addition, if a parent is custodian of a child, the effect this will have on their earning potential may be considered as will the financial obligations related to raising the child. If a party abused the other party while married, this may also be considered.

The standard of living each party enjoyed while married may be considered. The property each party brought to the marriage may be considered. If the party pursuing alimony does not have enough assets to provide for their reasonable needs, this may also be considered. The tax consequences of awarding alimony may be considered.

Seek assistance if you are facing alimony issues in a divorce

As this shows, there are many factors a court in Pennsylvania will consider if a party to the divorce is seeking alimony. This post is for informational purposes only and cannot guarantee any specific outcome in a divorce filing nor should it be relied upon as legal advice. Family law attorneys at The Beroes Law Center can explain more about alimony as it applies to the facts of your situation.