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Whether you live in Philadelphia or Punxsutawney or somewhere in between, one of the issues which comes up during the negotiation of marital settlement agreements is the subject of alimony. In a nutshell, alimony is the agreement of one partner to make regular payments to his or her spouse. This means that the spouse is responsible for the support and maintenance of his or her spouse to some degree.

Here are some factors you may want to take into account when figuring out alimony for your marital settlement agreement:

  1. Earning capability of each party, including employment history and employable skills;
  2. Length of marriage;
  3. Earned and unearned income (i.e., insurance, social security, retirement);
  4. The need for child/ren to have a full-time parent in the house;
  5. Standard of living during marriage;
  6. Tax implications;
  7. Health of spouses (physical and mental);
  8. Age of both spouses;
  9. Contributions to spouse's earning power. This can include support during his/her education or career; and
  10. How long will the alimony last.

You can customize your marital settlement agreement to spell out how long alimony will last. Some couples decide on longer or shorter time spans. For example, alimony may be given until the receiving spouse has gainful employment. Others may decide that an indefinite time period will result in a fair settlement agreement.

When creating your uncontested divorce marital settlement agreement in Pennsylvania, make sure to include the specifics of how the alimony should be received. This means writing out the amount, how often and in what form the alimony will be received. Don't forget to include possible increases to cover the cost of inflation over time.

Other provisions you may want to consider for your marital settlement agreement and alimony include:

  1. What happens when your spouse's income changes? This can happen due to unemployment or retirement;
  2. How will alimony be handled in case of the death of the paying spouse; and
  3. Will the spouse continue to receive alimony after remarriage?

Before sitting down with your spouse to work out the alimony agreement, make sure you have made a budget. The budget should include items such as:

  1. Current Income;
  2. Future Income from all resources;
  3. Child support;
  4. Income from the sale of marital property, such as a house or car;
  5. Anticipated expenses (include child's college education); and
  6. Cost of insurance (house, car, health).

If you are struggling with working out a budget you may want to consult with a financial planner or a divorce coach.

Beware of adding the words "non-modifiable" to the alimony section of your marital settlement agreement. You may want the agreement to be modifiable if there is a change in your life and it affects your finances.

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