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Financial Assistance After A Marriage

Alimony is a court-ordered support payment to the dependent spouse that will not commence until the divorce is finalized. This is different than spousal support or alimony pendente lite, which is support that is ordered before the divorce is finalized and that terminates upon the divorce. Said another way, spousal support and alimony pendente lite support the dependent spouse until the date that the divorce is final, and alimony supports the dependent spouse after the divorce is finalized and into the future.

Unlike spousal support and APL, there is no specific, clear formula for determining whether alimony is warranted under the specific circumstances of your case; the amount of any alimony award; or even the length of time that alimony will be paid to the dependent spouse.

Rather than using a specific formula, the courts have to weigh several factors to make these determinations. The factors that the court must consider when adjudicating a claim for alimony are:

  • The relative earnings and earning potential of each party
  • The ages and physical, mental and emotional condition of each party
  • The sources of income of both parties, including medical, retirement,
    insurance or other benefits
  • The life expectancies and inheritances of each party
  • The length of the marriage
  • The contribution of one party to the education, training or increased earning ability of the other party
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child
  • The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the parties
  • The property brought into the marriage by either party
  • The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
  • The relative needs of the parties
  • The marital misconduct of either party during the marriage. However, the marital misconduct of either party (other than abuse of one party by the other) after the date of separation shall not be considered in determining an alimony award
  • The federal, state and local tax consequences of the alimony award
  • Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for the party’s reasonable needs
  • Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment

An alimony award can be modified, suspended or terminated upon a substantial change in the financial circumstances of either party that is expected to continue into the future. Alimony is automatically terminated upon the remarriage of the receiving party, the death of the paying party or the receiving party begins residing with a person of the opposite sex who is not a member of his or her family.

This process can be stressful and confusing. The experienced attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC, can help you understand your rights and provide you with the representation that you need whether you are the paying party or the receiving party. Our lawyers represent clients in Harrisburg, Camp Hill and other communities throughout Central Pennsylvania. Call us at 717-836-0471 or contact us online.