In Pennsylvania, there are three types of alimony or spousal support: 1) spousal support (paid after the spouses separate), 2) alimony pendente lite (refers to a temporary order for support that is made after the divorce is filed), and 3) alimony (spousal support paid after the divorce is final). For the purpose of this post, we’re going to discuss alimony and when it ends in Pennsylvania.
Alimony, also known as “spousal support,” is a monthly payment that a higher-earning spouse pays to a lower-earning spouse for financial support after a divorce. If spouses can agree, they can put their heads together and decide on an amount of alimony and duration. If the spouses cannot reach such an agreement, the court may decide to order it.
If the issue of alimony is decided by the court, it will examine the following factors before deciding whether to award alimony:
- The age and health of both spouses
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- The spouses’ individual income and assets
- The length of the marriage
- If either spouse has an inheritance or expects to inherit one
- Whether a spouse helped the other obtain education or training during the marriage
- If a spouse helped the other increase their income
- If one spouse has a lower earning capacity because of raising the couple’s child
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- Both spouses’ assets and debts
- If one of the spouses contributed by being a homemaker
- Either spouse’s marital misconduct during the marriage
- The tax consequences of alimony
- And other relevant factors
Terminating Alimony in Pennsylvania
As mentioned above, a divorcing couple can decide when alimony ends. Otherwise, the court can determine that alimony will end at a specific time. While some orders have an end date, others are ongoing and do not establish an end date – this is especially common in long-term marriages. However, if circumstances change, the court may change the order.
When does alimony end automatically?
- The receiving spouse lives with a member of the opposite sex who is not a member of their family.
- The receiving spouse remarries.
- The receiving spouse passes away.
- The paying spouse passes away, unless there is an agreement or order that says the alimony shall continue despite the death.
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