Alimony is a payment made by one former spouse to the other former spouse following divorce. It is designed to address economic or financial inequity between the former spouses but is a divorce-related topic that can quickly grow contentious. As a result, it is helpful for divorcing couples to know how alimony is determined during divorce.
There are three different categories of alimony that the family law court may award during divorce in Pennsylvania including spousal support, alimony and alimony pendente lite. Spousal support refers to a temporary payment that is made by one spouse to the other following separation but prior to divorce being filed. The family law court will consider any abuse or adultery prior to separation when determining if an alimony award will be granted.
Alimony pendente lite is another type of alimony that may be awarded in Pennsylvania on a temporary basis while the divorce is pending. An alimony pendente lite award is intended to allow the recipient spouse to maintain their livelihood during the divorce and afford ongoing divorce expenses. The spouse requesting alimony pendente lite will need to demonstrate a need for it. The family law court will evaluate a variety of factors when determining any alimony pendente lite award.
An alimony award may also be made from one spouse to the other by the family law court which is based on the requesting spouse’s financial need going forward after the divorce and the evaluation of 17 factors that divorcing couples should be familiar with. Because alimony awards, including the amount and duration of any alimony award, are awarded at the discretion of the family law court, it is essential for divorcing spouses to be familiar with the process so they can protect their interests.