The topic of divorce is complicated, and no two divorces are the same. Because of this, it is hard to lean on friends and family for guidance when navigating through all of the twists and turns of the divorce process. It is important to remember that there are trusted divorce attorneys that someone in this situation can go to for the right advice—plus, one’s future depends on it.

In addition to having the right support, it is also key for someone in this situation to educate themselves on what to expect, and one topic that can feel grey to many is the topic of alimony. Alimony serves as a means to help a party meet their reasonable needs when their income and the assets awarded in equitable distribution are insufficient to meet those reasonable needs. To help someone understand this topic, we’ve outlined the most common questions and answers:

  • When does a spouse receive alimony?
    A spouse typically receives alimony after the entry of a divorce decree when it is proven that he or she is unable to meet their reasonable needs based upon their income or earning capacity and the assets awarded in equitable distribution. In those instances, alimony may be awarded to the dependent spouse who may receive monthly alimony payments from the other spouse.
  • Can alimony be terminated?
    Alimony may be terminated in the event of the death of either party, the remarriage of the payee, or if the payee is cohabitating as defined by Pennsylvania. If alimony is being paid pursuant to an agreement, the termination and/or modification of the alimony award is determined as agreed to by the parties. Agreements provide the parties with flexibility to determine the terms for termination or modification of the alimony award.

RELATED: Read these 3 tips for negotiating alimony.

  • How is the amount of alimony decided? 
    The court will consider multiple factors enumerated in the Divorce Code when making a decision as to award alimony. These factors  include, but are not limited to, the party’s relative earnings and earning capacities, the reasonable needs of the payee, the payor’s ability to pay, the assets received by the payee as part of equitable distribution, and the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage. Marital fault is also a factor in the determination of whether alimony should be awarded.   
  • How can alimony affect my taxes?
    With the changes in the tax law beginning in 2019, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible to the payor, nor taxable to the payee.  If alimony is being paid pursuant to an agreement or order of court that pre-dates 2019, the prior law remains in effect as to the taxability of the payments. 

Alimony can be a topic of worry for many going through a divorce, but you can rely on our lawyers’ knowledge and reputation to secure the resolution of your divorce-related issues, including alimony, by agreement with your spouse or through litigation in court. Our lawyers have the experience to advise you on which course will resolve your divorce in the best manner possible, always in accord with the outcomes most important to you.

For information about what our experienced attorneys at Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby can do to help you in your divorce, contact us online or call our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 412-261-4040.

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