Although many people have heard of the term "Alimony," many do not know what Alimony actually is and how it relates to a divorce case. Our Pittsburgh alimony attorneys want to provide you with some basic facts on Alimony in PA - what is it? What is its purpose? How can it be distinguished from the other types of support?
10 Facts about Alimony in Pennsylvania
- Alimony is an award for support made in conjunction with a divorce decree. This means that a court will assess the reasonable needs of the parties and attempt to create economic justice between the parties by ordering one party - the payor - to provide support to the dependent party.
- The amount of alimony is analyzed by reasonable needs of the parties, taking into account the lifestyle and standard of living established by the parties during the marriage. The payor's ability to pay is another factor to consider.
- "Alimony" is support which is paid AFTER the Pennsylvania divorce decree is entered - or when the divorce is finalized. "Spousal Support" is for the care, maintenance and financial assistance of the dependent spouse, and is awarded as part of the divorce action. Alimony pendente lite is awarded on a temporary basis during the pending divorce proceedings.
- Spousal support is determined by using guidelines that take into account the parties' incomes. Alimony calculations do not follow the spousal support guidelines.
- A claim for alimony must be raised prior to the entry of the divorce decree, or else it is waived!
- Alimony's Purpose: The purpose is NOT to award one party and punish the other - rather it is to insure that the reasonable needs of the person who is unable to support him/herself through appropriate employment, are met.
- In Pennsylvania, Alimony is considered AFTER equitable distribution is effectuated. This means that an alimony award is dependent upon what the parties receive as a result of equitable distribution.
- The court considers 17 factors when deciding on an alimony award - and the court MUST explain their alimony award in light of these 17 factors when allowing an alimony award to be entered.
- Alimony is typically a periodic payment made from one former spouse to another - but sometimes parties attempt to "fashion" an alimony award by treating payment for other things such as the mortgage or any financial assistance as alimony.
- Alimony payments are tax deductible for the payor and are considered income to the recipient.
If you have questions about Pennsylvania Alimony - contact our Allegheny County Divorce Attorneys today! Our attorneys are experienced in this area and can assist you get a fair award of alimony (if necessary) in your case.