Calculating Alimony

Changes in alimony tax law

Alimony is awarded as a means of providing financial support to a spouse in a divorce proceeding. There are a number of factors that come into play when calculating alimony in a Pennsylvania divorce case.

Guidelines for Calculating Alimony

There exist no specific guidelines for calculating alimony in a Pennsylvania divorce. Rather, there are a number of factors that Pennsylvania law requires courts to consider when determining an award of alimony in a divorce case.

These factors include the income or earning capacities of each spouse as well as the age and overall health of each party to a divorce. A court is also to consider the length of the marriage, whether one of the spouses supported the other while pursuing an education as well as the standard of living of the spouses during the course of the marriage.

Other factors considered by a Pennsylvania divorce case when calculating alimony include the financial needs of each spouse, the impact of alimony on taxes and whether either party engaged in misconduct during the course of the marriage.

Duration of Alimony

The length of time alimony payments are paid depends on the unique facts and circumstances of a particular divorce case. In Pennsylvania, an alimony order may have a specific ending date or it may be open ended.

There are some circumstances that cause the automatic termination of alimony payments in Pennsylvania. These include the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony or the death of the person receiving alimony. If the person receiving alimony commences living intimately with another person, the payments are also likely to come to an automatic end.

Seeking Alimony

A person interested in obtaining alimony must obtain a court order regarding this type of financial support before a divorce case concludes. Generally speaking, the law does not permit a person to go back into court to seek alimony after a final divorce decree has been entered.

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement can limit or preclude a person from obtaining alimony. If such an instrument exists, it will govern the alimony issue unless it is determined to be somehow invalid by a judge in divorce proceedings.