March 31, 2016

The Truth About Alimony in Pennsylvania Divorce Case

A common area within the confines of Pennsylvania divorce law in which myths abound is in regard to alimony. Alimony in Pennsylvania is subject to some fairly strict guidelines established by law. A person contemplating divorce, with an interest in alimony in Pennsylvania, needs to be generally versed in what is myth and what is reality in regard to this element of divorce law.

Common Myths About Alimony in Pennsylvania

Perhaps the most prevalent myth associated with alimony in Pennsylvania is that this type of financial assistance is awarded automatically in divorce cases. Indeed, a fairly consistent corollary of this myth is that a person is able to obtain one year of alimony payments for every three years of marriage. No such formula exists for determining the availability of and calculating alimony.

Another recurring myth is that alimony is not gender neutral in the commonwealth. This contention is that women are able to receive alimony while men usually will not qualify. In fact, the determination of alimony in Pennsylvania is made on a gender neutral basis. A variety of factors come into play, but gender is not one of them.

As noted, these simply are not accurate descriptions of alimony in Pennsylvania. And, again, it is crucial for a person contemplating divorce to understand accurately the essential elements of alimony in Pennsylvania as outlined in the law.

Standards for Alimony in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law sets forth no specific mandate regarding how much a person should be paid for alimony or how long alimony payments should occur. Alimony decisions are made at the discretion of the court on a case by case basis in divorce proceedings.

The award of alimony is based on a consideration of the financial needs of one of the spouses. This determination is made after the marital assets and debts are divided between the parties by the court.

A court can award alimony if a party is not able to meet reasonable living expenses based on that individual’s ability to earn an income. In addition, the value of the marital assets set aside to that individual is also taken into consideration by the court.

The Value of Legal Representation

When it comes to making a claim for alimony in Pennsylvania, a person in a divorce case to put his or her self in the best position to prevail by retaining capable counsel. A Pennsylvania divorce lawyer will schedule an initial consultation to discuss this and other issues.