Life does not always work out as planned. When you married you envisioned spending your life and growing old together with your spouse. However, such visions do not always reflect reality, especially if you decide to divorce. If this happens you will have to make key decisions on divorce legal issues, including alimony.
What is alimony?
Alimony refers to periodic payments one spouse makes to the other after they divorce either through a mutually agreed-upon settlement or order of the court. Alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse transition to life as a single person. Alimony is also meant to prevent a situation where one spouse has a significant unfair financial advantage following the divorce, especially if the receiving spouse was not in the workforce while married.
The three types of alimony
Pennsylvania law recognizes three types of alimony: spousal support, alimony pendente lite and alimony. Note that courts have the discretion of whether to award alimony. It is not automatic.
Spousal support includes temporary payments made to a spouse after the couple has separated but before they file for divorce. Alimony pendente lite includes temporary payments made after the divorce has been filed but before it is finalized. A spouse must file for alimony pendente lite and show their need for the financial support.
Alimony is the financial payments one spouse makes to their ex once the divorce is finalized. It is based on the receiving spouse’s financial needs following the divorce. This means there are no statutory calculations dictating how much alimony to award. Instead, courts will look at a variety of factors when determining how much alimony to award.
Alimony can help spouses achieve equality
No one, as they walk down the wedding aisle, plans on divorce. Yet not all marriages last forever. Under Pennsylvania law, alimony payments are meant to put both spouses on relatively equal financial footing post-divorce, so they can move into the future comfortably.