As Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyers, we are frequently asked questions regarding entitlement to alimony. Alimony in Pennsylvania is only available when "economic justice and the reasonable needs of the parties cannot be achieved by way of equitable distribution, or the division of marital assets and debts." An Alimony award is determined after an analysis of statutory factors. If after an analysis of the factors, the Court determines that it is necessary to provide the one party with sufficient income to obtain the "necessities of life." It will award an alimony amount. The purpose of alimony is to attempt to ensure that a spouse who is unable to support himself/herself are provided with reasonable needs.
A bill has been sent to Florida Governor Rick Snyder that provides a detailed formula for determining an alimony award. A specific formula for determining an alimony award is a significant departure from how Florida previously determined alimony, and significantly different than how Pennsylvania determines it. Alimony is payments for the support of the dependent spouse (the spouse who earned less money during the marriage) after a divorce has been finalized. In Pennsylvania, alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis based on 17 factors provided by statute. Some notable factors in Pennsylvania are: the relative earning capacities of the parties; the length of the marriage; the contributions of one party to the education, training, or increased earning capacity of the other party; the standard of living the parties established during the marriage; the relative needs of the parties; the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
One of the most important things to the day to day practice of the law is keeping up on the ever changing cases and statutes that govern the lives of attorneys and clients. Whether it's making sure you have an up to date copy of the state Rules of Civil Procedure establishing a deadline for filing your inventory and appraisement in an equitable distribution hearing or new decisions from the state appellate courts, as lawyers if we don't keep abreast of changes in the law, we will be left in the dust by our opposing counsel. It's also important that the clients stay updated as well so that they have the best impression of the merit of their case. Because of this, we are excited to announce a new monthly feature to our blog. On the last Monday of each month, we will be providing a list of the most recent Pennsylvania Superior Court decisions related to family law and brief summaries of these cases. This feature will be supplemented in-depth reports on some of the most important cases and how they will impact you.