In Pennsylvania, the court will award alimony or spousal support only when it is necessary. The court may consider all relevant factors in determining the amount and duration of any award. Alimony is determined based on the specifics of a case.
Types of Spousal Support
- Temporary – a temporary award of alimony prior to the final dissolution.
- Short-Term – an award of alimony for a limited period of time, often granted to allow one spouse the opportunity to gain new skills.
- Long-Term or Permanent – an award of alimony for a long period of time.
Who is Eligible for Alimony in Pennsylvania
Either party to a divorce may seek alimony if there is a disparity between income and employability or some other reason the court should consider it.
Pennsylvania Alimony Guidelines (Factors for Awarding Alimony)
If the court determines that a party is eligible for alimony, the following factors are considered in determining the award:
- Financial resources of the spouse seeking alimony;
- The spouse's ability to meet his or her needs independently;
- Education and employment skills of the spouses;
- Time, availability and feasibility for the supported spouse to acquire sufficient training or education to facilitate employment;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Age, employment history, earning ability, and condition of the spouse seeking alimony;
- Ability of the supporting spouse to meet personal needs and make support payments;
- Comparative financial resources of the spouses, including medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits, and any separate property;
- Contribution of one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
- Contribution of either spouse as homemaker;
- Marital misconduct of the spouse seeking alimony;
- Tax consequences; and
- Any other factors the court deems relevant.
Reasons for Termination or Modification of Alimony in Pennsylvania
Once the court determines the alimony payment schedule and amount, the only thing that will result in consideration of a modification is change of circumstances. If one or both parties to the support agreement have a sudden shift in income, then the court has discretion to consider a modification.
Marital Fault in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania courts may consider whether the party seeking alimony was at fault in deciding whether alimony is appropriate. Fault is one of several factors that go into the court’s decision.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in Pennsylvania?
Alimony in Pennsylvania can be ordered for a limited amount of time or for a longer period of time depending on the circumstances and interests of justice. The court will decide length of alimony based on the parties’ unique situation.
Pennsylvania Alimony Taxes
Alimony from a former spouse is taxable in the year it is received. Thus, you must claim it as income on your tax return. Discuss tax consequences of your agreement with an attorney to protect your rights and make sure you comply with the law.
Find an Alimony Attorney in Pennsylvania
If you are faced with the possibility of paying or receiving alimony due to divorce, consult a Pennsylvania family law attorney. An attorney will advocate on your behalf, help you understand your rights and help you protect your property.