Obtaining Spousal Support or Alimony in a Divorce Proceeding in Pennsylvania

The Factors a Court Will Consider in an Alimony Proceeding in Pennsylvania

Mom at grecery storeThough alimony or spousal support is not as common in Pennsylvania as it used to be, courts still have the discretion to require that one spouse make payments to the other, either permanently or for a specific period of time. When determining whether alimony is warranted, the court will look at a variety of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The current earnings of both parties
  • Any anticipated future earnings, gifts or inheritances by either party
  • The physical, emotional and mental capacity of both parties
  • The age of the parties
  • All potential sources of income for each party, including retirement plans, investments, medical /disability benefits
  • Whether there are minor children in the custody of one spouse, and that spouse is receiving child support
  • The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage
  • The education, skills or training of each party as it relates to ability to be gainfully employed, as well as prospective income
  • Whether one spouse contributed to or gave up career opportunities to support the other spouse’s education, training or increased earning potential
  • Whether either or both of the parties engaged in marital misconduct during the marriage
  • The property each spouse brought into the marriage
  • The needs of both spouses
  • Whether one spouse acted as “homemaker”
  • Whether one spouse lacks property or income to meet his or her reasonable needs
  • The potential employability of both parties
  • The potential tax consequences of a grant of alimony

Though the court will review these factors, it is important to understand that there is no statutory requirement that a court order or refuse to grant alimony. It is entirely within the discretion of the court. In addition, there is no specific formula for calculating alimony—that is also at the discretion of the court.

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Montgomery County Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals