When is Alimony Awarded?

An alimony award is a continuing payment to a spouse even after the divorce is granted and the property and debts are distributed. There are no specific financial guidelines for alimony, as there are for spousal support, alimony pendente lite or child support. Alimony is based on the needs of the spouse. There are many factors that a court must consider when determining an alimony award.

In determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court must consider all relevant factors, including those statutorily prescribed for at 23 Pa. C.S. § 3701 (b), which are as follows:

  • The relative earnings and earning capacity of the parties;
  • The ages and physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
  • The sources of income of both parties, including but not limited to medical, retirement, insurance, or other benefits;
  • The expectancies and inheritances of the parties;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligation of a party will be affected by reasons of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
  • 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 of the parties during the marriage;
  • The Federal, state and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
  • Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to property distribution under Chapter 35, to provide for the parties’ reasonable needs;
  • Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of set support through appropriate employment.