Berman & Asbel, LLP

How alimony is determined

When a couple gets a divorce in Pennsylvania, one spouse may have to pay alimony to the other. The monthly payment amounts are normally determined by how much money each spouse makes. This may include salary, bonuses, dividends and other forms of income.

To figure out how long someone will be responsible for paying spousal support, the court will generally look at how long a couple has been married. Courts may significantly limit the duration of alimony or not require any payments if a couple has been married for less than 10 years. Marriages that last longer than a decade normally are associated with longer alimony durations, sometimes lasting until the person receiving the payments dies.

The court will also often look at the situation of the spouse being called upon to pay alimony. Judges may consider if the spouse is going to be able to meet financial obligations as well as his or her age and health. Another part of determining alimony is if there has been domestic abuse. A spouse that has been the victim of abuse may not be required to pay spousal support to the former partner.

If someone gets a divorce, his or her financial situation may change dramatically. Divorced individuals will generally no longer benefit from two incomes, and they may also be responsible for paying child or spousal support. Additionally, asset division may cut into someone's savings or retirement accounts. A lawyer could help explain how these issues are decided and assist individuals in seeking an equitable outcome for their divorce.

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