Skip to main content

Alimony In Pennsylvania: What Are The Specifics?

August 28, 2023
Divorce Done Differently in PA
Hay bails in a field | alimony in Pennsylvania | Divorce Done Differently

Alimony is a familiar word to anyone going through a divorce or familiar with the divorce process. And issues related to alimony in Pennsylvania are no different.

Depending on your state, the rules of alimony have varied from state to state in terms of how the wealth is distributed and what legal requirements and laws are used to determine the exact amount.

While this may seem confusing when talking about alimony in general, knowing the way alimony is handled in one’s state will help ensure clarity. It will help in understanding what alimony is precisely.

For this article, the concept of alimony will be based on how it is described in Pennsylvania law and what it means for those living there. This article will focus on the specific laws and definitions stated in Pennsylvania law. While there may be some similarities with other states, it is best to remember that what is mentioned in this article may not be the same in other states.

Differences Between Spousal Support and Alimony in Pennsylvania.

When people are initially preparing for a divorce, the spouse may have also heard of the term spousal support and may wonder how it compares to alimony.

While both processes involve payments between the now separated spouses, the differences come in how the amount of the payments is determined and when the payments are made. Spousal support is paid before the spouses are divorced and determined by a calculation made under the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. In contrast, alimony is paid after the spouses are divorced and determined at the court’s discretion based on 17 different factors outlined in the law.

What Is Alimony In Pennsylvania?

In short, alimony is financial support paid by the spouse with a higher income to the spouse with a lower income after the parties are divorced. This amount and length of the payment can be determined by the parties’ agreement or the court’s order.

In Pennsylvania, when the court decides the amount of alimony to be paid is calculated by weighing 17 different factors to determine the amount and duration for the terms of alimony to be paid. One of the factors to be considered would be the financial assets each party will receive in the division of the marital assets.

What Factors Make Up Alimony in Pennsylvania?

A number of the other factors that can be considered in determining the amount and term of alimony to be paid include the income of both parties, how long the marriage lasted, and if the couple has had a child together, which requires one spouse to be the stay at home parent. The court considers these 17 factors to determine if the spouse with the larger income should help support their former partner by paying them alimony until that person can support themselves.

Alimony may also be modifiable after the divorce. If alimony is ruled modifiable, then if any changes occur in income, the former couple may need to visit the court to request a change. The court will determine if a change in the amount of alimony being paid needs to occur.

Usually, alimony is paid for only a set period. However, there are some instances where alimony is deemed permanent if the former partner cannot financially recover. In this instance, alimony would be paid until the former dependent spouse is either dead or remarries another person.

Understanding the determination of the payment of alimony in Pennsylvania is a highly complex process. Anyone going through a divorce in Pennsylvania should consult an experienced family law attorney to determine their rights to alimony under the law.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at