Post-Divorce Awards

Spousal SupportAlimony has been authorized by statute in Pennsylvania since 1980 and is defined as a post-divorce award or settlement of an amount of money to be paid to a dependent spouse. There are 17 factors in the divorce statute that cover a party's entitlement to alimony. For post-divorce alimony, the court considers the following factors:

  • The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties
  • The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties
  • Sources of income for both parties, including medical, retirement, insurance and other benefits
  • The expectancies and inheritances of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by serving as the custodian of a minor child
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the parties
  • The property brought to the marriage by either party
  • The contribution of a spouse as homemaker
  • The relative needs of the parties
  • Marital misconduct of either party during the marriage. Such misconduct by either party from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, "abuse" shall have the meaning given to it under Section 6102 (relating to definitions).
  • Federal, state and local tax ramifications of the alimony award
  • Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party's reasonable needs
  • Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment

Can Alimony Be Modified?

Alimony can be either modifiable or nonmodifiable. If the parties agree to an amount of alimony to be paid for a specific number of years in a marital dissolution agreement, that obligation may be contractual and, therefore, nonmodifiable. On the other hand, if alimony is awarded by the court pursuant to a hearing, then the alimony is by definition modifiable both in terms of duration and amount upon a showing of changed financial circumstances.

Alimony pendente lite is defined as alimony pending the litigation and is treated similarly to spousal support in terms of the amount to be paid. That amount is based on the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines and is deductible to the payer and includable in the gross income of the payee. Alimony pendente lite is generally paid until the divorce is final.

Learn More About Alimony Matters

If you would like to learn more about alimony and related concerns, reach out to Silverblatt & Associates. You can contact us in Wilkes-Barre at 570-820-9800 or by filling out our online form.