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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > Understanding Pennsylvania’s Alimony Laws

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Alimony Laws


Alimony is consistently considered one of the most controversial topics in relation to divorce proceedings. Alimony, which is monetary payments made by an ex-spouse to the other former spouse after their divorce is finalized, is handled slightly differently in the State of Pennsylvania than in other jurisdictions.

When a divorce decree is entered, if considered necessary, a divorce judge may permit alimony payments. Alimony payments are never automatic. Alimony must be mutually agreed upon or else fought for in front of a divorce judge. What most people do not realize is that either spouse could end up being responsible for making or receiving alimony payments.

Pennsylvania’s four different types of alimony include:

  1. Permanent alimony – is monetary support payments from one divorcee to the other, and is typically paid to the ex-spouse until they pass away. Even in cases where the paying ex-spouse retires, they have to continue making alimony payments.

  2. Limited duration alimony – this type of alimony is only for a limited duration, and commonly used in cases where the receiving ex-spouse needs the support to maintain the same lifestyle as before the divorce.

  3. Rehabilitative alimony – is a set payment for a certain period of time to help the lower-earning ex-spouse become more self-subsistent.

  4. Reimbursement alimony – are payments to reimburse the ex-spouse for major expenses they incurred on their ex-spouse’s behalf.

Some Factors Judges use to Determine Whether or not to Award Alimony

Numerous factors determine whether or not a judge will consider any of the above types of alimony, such as:

  • The earnings of both spouses;
  • The ages of both spouses;
  • The physical, mental and emotional states of both spouses;
  • Both spouses sources of income;
  • The total duration of the marriage;
  • Past and expected inheritances;
  • The contributions of one spouse that led to increased salary for the other;
  • Financially supporting the other spouse during advanced education or training;
  • The couple’s standard of living during the course of the marriage;
  • Assets and liabilities of each of the spouses; and
  • Contribution as a homemaker by one spouse.

Alimony can be more simply described as ex-spouses assisting their former spouse get their life back together within a reasonable period of time. Alimony is usually a very sensitive subject during divorces, and it is possible that the alimony arrangement will lead to various other disputes. However, it is important for divorcing spouses to realize that alimony serves a fundamental purpose and was designed to fill a vital need.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

The talented lawyers of Kardos, Rickles & Hand have successfully represented clients in divorces and alimony disputes since 1981. We serve clients in Bucks County, Mercer County, Montgomery County and throughout the region.

Divorces are often stressful and time-consuming processes, and we are here to assist you and guide you the entire way. It is important to hire the most qualified attorney to represent you. Our Bucks County family lawyers have the knowledge needed to help you get the best possible results.

For more information, call our firm today at 215-968-6602 or contact us online.

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