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How Remarriage Impacts Alimony in Pennsylvania

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 5-Oct-2015

When couples divorce in Pennsylvania, the court may order that the higher earning spouse pays alimony to their wife or husband, specifically when the lower-earning spouse cannot afford to pay their basic living expenses.

What happens when the supported spouse moves in with a new sweetheart, or remarries? These are good questions and whether you are the one paying or receiving alimony, the answers are important to you.

In this post, we are going to explain how a supported spouse's cohabitation or remarriage affects alimony. If you have further questions about alimony and remarriage, we encourage you to contact our office to speak to a member of our legal team.

Why Judges Award Alimony

Alimony is not automatic in all divorces. Judges order alimony when it's "necessary." Alimony can come in the form of a lump-sum payment or a property transfer, but it usually comes in the form of monthly payment for a set period of time, or until something specific happens.

When deciding whether to award alimony, the judge will carefully consider a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The spouses' relative incomes
  • Each spouse's financial situation
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Any contributions as a homemaker
  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage

What if my ex-spouse moves in with someone?

Under Pennsylvania law, if a supported spouse begins cohabiting with a new partner, he or she is no longer eligible for alimony. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend that occasionally stays over doesn't qualify as cohabitation, but sharing the same residence full-time does.

If you are paying alimony and believe that your ex-spouse is living with a new love interest, you want to gather evidence and witnesses who can help you prove the cohabitation.

Will the payments stop if my ex remarries?

Generally, when a court awards alimony, it automatically terminates when the supported spouse remarries.

If your spouse is remarrying and you are the paying spouse, you should file a motion to terminate alimony as soon as possible. It's possible for a judge to order that the alimony ends retroactive on the date of your spouse's remarriage.

If you and your ex-spouse agreed to alimony as a part of your divorce settlement agreement, alimony doesn't automatically terminate unless it's stipulated in the agreement. However, it is common for divorce agreements to contain language that states that alimony ends automatically when the supported spouse remarries.

If there is no such provision in a divorce agreement, then alimony payments continue according to the terms in the divorce agreement.

If you're interested in getting a quick, affordable divorce, contact a Pennsylvania no fault divorce attorney from Cairns Law Offices!