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PRACTICE AREA

Marital Property / Equitable Distribution

PRACTICE AREA DETAILS

Date

11 Dec 2016

Category

Family Law

ABOUT THIS PRACTICE AREA

In divorce proceedings, the court has the power to order one spouse to pay alimony or support to the lower earning spouse spouse. Alimony in PA or support is often one of the more contentious issues in a divorce no matter which side of the courtroom a client is on. Our attorneys at Fenters Ward have successfully represented clients in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Butler and Armstrong County. In Pennsylvania, there are three types of orders that the court can issue: spousal support, APL “alimony pendente lite”, and alimony.

 

All types of alimony and support are determined by private settlement or court order, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The courts look to the actual net income and potential income of each spouse, expenses and special needs of each spouse, and the length of the marriage. All of these factors will determine the amount of support to be paid and the duration of the order.

 

What is spousal support? Like alimony pendente lite, spousal support is paid during the pendency of the divorce proceeding. Spousal support is to be applied to living expenses and maintenance of property. After the final divorce decree is entered (via settlement or following a trial) the court will set alimony. Spousal support is paid prior to entry of the order; it is called alimony after the court order is granted.

 

What is alimony pendente lite? Pendente lite is a Latin term meaning “awaiting the litigation” or “pending the litigation” which applies to court orders which are in effect while a matter (such as a divorce) is pending. Pennsylvania allows for the lessor-earning spouse to obtain a temporary order for the greater-earning spouse to pay money for living expenses and legal fees while the divorce is pending. The purpose of this law is to prevent the greater-earning spouse from using their financial superiority as unfair leverage in a divorce case. You may think that you can not hire a lawyer because your spouse has frozen all of your assets. Call one of our attorneys at Fenters Ward to discuss alimony pendente lite.

 

What is alimony? Is paid after the divorce decree is finalized. Unlike support of alimony pendente lite, which are based on statutory calculations, alimony is based on many factors listed below.  The major factors are the financial resources of both parties. So, as a general rule, if you are the greater earning spouse, you can expect to pay alimony to the lesser earning spouse.  But there are exceptions.  Pennsylvania alimony can be either court ordered, or mutually agreed upon in a marital settlement agreement.

WHAT FACTORS ARE USED TO DETERMINE ALIMONY AND SUPPORT?

Alimony in PA requires the court to consider several factors. However, each case is unique and only an experienced attorney can adequately represent your interest. Some of the alimony factors in PA courts must consider are as follows:

  • The assets of each spouse;
  • The debts of each spouse;
  • The net income of each spouse;
  • The potential net income of each spouse (now and in the future);
  • The sources of future income of each spouse (inheritance, insurance, investments, etc.);
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The assets each spouse brought into the marriage;
  • Misconduct of either spouse (abuse, adultery, waste);
  • The education level of each spouse;
  • The contributions to the marriage (monetary, homemaking, home improvements, etc.);
  • Education obtained during the marriage;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Age, life expectancy, mental and physical health of each spouse;
  • The reasonably foreseeable future needs and expenses of each spouse.

Alimony in PA and support payments of all types are taxable events for both parties. The paying spouse may claim it as a deduction and the receiving spouse must include payments as income.  A Fenters Ward divorce attorney can help you with tax issues.

HOW LONG DOES ALIMONY IN PA HAVE TO BE PAID?

Spousal support and alimony pendente lite are terminated when the final divorce decree is entered. Any future payments are classified as alimony in PA. Alimony orders may be appealed or modified if they are entered in error or circumstances have changed. A court order may have a set date, or a tiered structure, or no end date at all. However, there are a few circumstanced in which a former spouse’s duty to pay alimony will cease:

  • Significant change in circumstances (disability, injury, loss of income);
  • Remarriage of spouse receiving support;
  • Spouse receiving support now lives with another adult who is not a family member;
  • Death.

See our blog post for a more info about Duration of Payments.

CALL US FOR A FREE SPOUSAL SUPPORT AND ALIMONY CALCULATION

Our Pittsburgh Divorce Attorneys are experienced in all of the above areas. No matter which side of the support or alimony dispute you are on we are here to help you. Contact one of our divorce attorneys today.

 

Questions?  Get in Touch With A PA Family Law Attorney Today!





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