A major component of the resolution of a divorce is the payment of alimony following the end of the marriage. If you are a dependent spouse, will you be able to support yourself after your divorce? Will the court recognize your contribution to the marriage if it cannot necessarily be measured in dollars? Will your standard of living diminish dramatically? If you are the income-earning spouse, will you be assessed an obligation to support your ex-spouse? Will you be forever “tied” to your spouse through alimony payments? What tax issues will you face?
The purpose of alimony is to effect economic justice, but it is a secondary remedy and applies only if economic justice cannot be achieved by way of a fair distribution between spouses of the property they own. Where appropriate, alimony may be awarded for either a definite or an indefinite period of time. The amount is based on the reasonable needs of the recipient, in accord with the lifestyle and standard of living established during their marriage, as well as the ability of the person paying alimony to make payments. However, the payor does not have an absolute duty to ensure the recipient spouse experiences no decrease in his or her standard of living.
The court may award alimony only where it finds such is necessary. This is a complicated determination that is dependent on 17 factors specifically set forth in the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. Modification of an award of alimony is possible under certain circumstances, most notably in the case of remarriage or loss of job. Exploring the many factors related to alimony is a complex task that requires the expertise of our firm, a firm that focuses on divorce and does not treat it as a “side line.”
If you are divorcing and have concerns about alimony, the law firm of Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby can provide the guidance and representation you need. Contact our seasoned lawyers online or call our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 412-261-4040.