Alimony in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, Alimony refers to the payments that are made from one spouse to the other spouse after the divorce process is complete and the divorce decree has been issued by the Court.

The payments made to a spouse during the divorce action is called either Spousal Support or Alimony Pendente Lite. Unlike with Spousal Support, Alimony is not calculated using specific guidelines. Instead, there are 17 factors that the Court must consider in fashioning an award of alimony.

The most important factors when determining Alimony include the length of the marriage, the earnings of the parties during the marriage, the standard of living obtained by the parties during the marriage, and the future employability and income of each party. Another relevant factor that the Court will consider is the assets involved and the manner in which the marital assets are divided. If the party who would usually be entitled to alimony is given the majority of the marital assets, and is provided with assets which are income-producing, then they might not have as great of a need for alimony. Conversely, if the party seeking alimony is given assets which have little value and will not produce income for them, then they are more likely to receive a generous alimony award. Deciding upon the proper Alimony in any case takes careful analysis of the facts involved.

Some Common Questions About Alimony in Pennsylvania

What types of alimony exist in Pennsylvania?

There are a few types of Alimony in Pennsylvania, and they reflect different needs and factors in their application: “Permanent Alimony” provides a consistent income to a spouse who is unemployable due to old age, disability, or lack of education and work experience. “Rehabilitative Alimony” is paid to a spouse in order to enable the spouse to resume an education and obtain skills and knowledge which will help them obtain financial independence. “Reimbursement Alimony” repays a spouse who supported the family while their spouse earned a professional degree or built a successful business.

How long do you have to be married to receive alimony in Pennsylvania?

Alimony is not an absolute entitlement in Pennsylvania. There are seventeen (17) factors that a Court will consider when determining an appropriate length and amount of Alimony, and the length of the marriage is one of those factors. Typically, the lengthier the marriage, the greater argument there is for an alimony award if the circumstances warrant it. Because the Alimony factors need to be carefully reviewed and applied to each case, there is no explicit minimum length of time a spouse has to be married to qualify for Alimony, and the "measuring stick" used by Masters and Judges can vary from county to county.


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