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FAQs About Alimony in Pennsylvania

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 7-Sep-2016

If you are heading for divorce, you will certainly have a lot of questions. Questions about alimony, property and debt division, child custody and support (where applicable), and how long it takes to get a divorce finalized in Pennsylvania to list a few.

For the purposes of this post, we're going to discuss frequently asked questions about alimony, also known as spousal support. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact our firm to speak with an experienced divorce attorney.

Can spousal support be ordered before the divorce is final?
Yes it can. In Pennsylvania, spousal support and alimony pendent lite are orders that are made before a divorce is finalized. Spousal support is paid after the spouses separate, but before their divorce action is filed with the court.

What is alimony pendent lite?
Alimony pendent lite is ordered after a divorce action is filed with the court. The term pendent lite refers to when an action is pending with the court. An order for spousal support and alimonypendent lite cannot be in place at the same time.

What is 'alimony' under Pennsylvania law?
Spousal support is ordered before a divorce action is filed, alimonypendent lite is ordered after a divorce action is filed and alimony is ordered after the divorce is finalized, or after the divorce decree is officially entered by the court.

Is alimony automatic in all divorces?
Not, it is not. All three types of alimony: spousal support, alimony pendent lite and alimony are ordered on a case-by-case basis. The court reviews a number of factors, such as the length of the marriage, the income and assets of each parties, and each spouse's earning capacity before making an order for spousal support or alimony.

How is alimony calculated?
The court does not follow any specific guidelines when it comes to calculating alimony. The court must review the totality of the circumstances before deciding on an amount. The amount has a lot to do with each spouse's income and the higher-earning spouse's ability to pay.

How long does alimony last?
The duration of alimony has to do with the circumstances of the case. The alimony order may be set without an end date, or it may have an end date. It simply depends on the couple's financial situation.

When does alimony end automatically?
Alimony will end automatically if the receiving spouse moves in with another person of the opposite sex that is not family, the receiving spouse remarries, or either spouse dies.

Does a spouse receive alimony if they're working?
It is possible, especially if the higher-earning spouse earns significantly more than the lower-earning spouse.

Can alimony be changed at a later date?
It is possible for alimony to be modified providing there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss, a serious illness, or a disability.

Is alimony taxable as income?
For the receiving spouse, spousal support/alimony is taxable as income, but for the paying spouse, spousal support and alimony are tax deductible. However, child support is not tax deductible.

If you have further questions about spousal support, alimony pendent lite, and alimony in Pennsylvania, please don't hesitate to contact Cairns Law Offices for a free consultation.