The end of a marriage represents significant financial changes for Pennsylvania spouses, but these changes may be especially difficult for the lesser-earning spouse in a couple. In order to offset the economic inequity of a divorce, a court may determine it is appropriate to award one of the spouses with alimony — also called spousal support. There are various factors that determine whether one could receive this support: the duration of payments and the specific amount of the payments.
If you are facing a divorce, you may want a clear picture of what you can expect from the weeks, months and years ahead. In order to gain a better understanding of your potential financial situation, it may be beneficial to learn about the factors that affect alimony decisions. Whether you hope you receive this type of support or you may be making these payments, understanding this aspect of your divorce may be useful in your pursuit of a fair final order.
How does alimony work?
Alimony is the financial support of one spouse by the other after the divorce is final. There are times when two spouses may be able to agree on the terms of a spousal support order in order to avoid taking this matter before the court. However, if a judge will be making the final decision regarding the payment of spousal support, the following factors may be important considerations in the final ruling:
- The length of the marriage
- Lifestyle enjoyed by the spouses during the marriage
- Income of both spouses
- Physical and mental capabilities of both spouses
- Other financial responsibilities of the higher-earning spouse
Depending on the details of the individual situation, alimony can be permanent. However, it is likely that alimony could be temporary — awarded for a time deemed sufficient for the lesser-earning spouse to find employment, go to school and improve his or her financial situation.
Your financial future after divorce
The terms of your divorce order will have a significant impact on your future. It is critical to seek terms that are fair, reasonable and sustainable long-term. Whether you believe you have a rightful claim to these benefits, or you expect to make these payments, knowing how alimony works can help you understand how you can fight for the best possible future. Your financial interests could be at stake during your divorce, and it may be helpful to understand your rights and options as you navigate this process.