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What factors can affect alimony awards in Pennsylvania?

Adjusting to life after marriage and divorce is a challenge. The emotional and social adjustment certainly is difficult, but so is the financial adjustment. This can be especially true if your ex (or soon-to-be ex) was the primary earner in your household.

If you are in this situation, then you may be wondering if you can collect alimony to help you after a divorce. Some people address alimony in a prenuptial agreement or in mediation, but if you cannot do this, then the courts will make a determination. In this post, we will examine some of the 17 factors that Pennsylvania courts consider when determining if alimony is necessary.

Financial considerations

Financial details will play a critical role in alimony decisions. The courts will consider numerous factors about your finances and your ex's finances. More specifically, they will look at:

  • Each person's earning capacities
  • Each person's sources of income, including benefits
  • Any expected inheritances for either party
  • The effect child custody might have on a parent's earning power or financial responsibilities
  • Each person's educational level and professional training
  • Tax implications of alimony
  • The balance of property between each party after divorce
  • Each person's financial needs
  • Ability to secure employment (for the party seeking support)

Marital considerations

Details of the marriage will also affect alimony awards. The courts will examine:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Contributions from spouse to the other to increase his or her education or earning power during the marriage
  • Each person's mental, physical and emotional condition
  • Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Property brought into the marriage by either party
  • Non-financial marital contributions, including homemaking
  • Marital misconduct

Based on these and other relevant factors, the courts will make determination on whether to award alimony.

If you wish to seek alimony, then you can discuss your options with your attorney. Depending on the details of your case, you could negotiate an acceptable alimony agreement during mediation or you could build your case to present to the court with these factors in mind. In either scenario, a legal representative experienced in divorce and alimony claims can help you pursue the desired outcome.

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