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Philadelphia Family Lawyer > Blog > Family Law > Can I Be Forced to Pay Permanent Alimony in Pennsylvania?

Can I Be Forced to Pay Permanent Alimony in Pennsylvania?


A divorcing couple must resolve numerous matters before their divorce is finalized. These include issues such as the distribution of assets, child custody, child support, and, yes, alimony. Unlike child support, alimony or spousal maintenance are payments made from one spouse to another to support that spouse during and after the divorce. If one spouse is financially dependent on the other spouse, the court may see fit to award alimony.

That brings up the issue of permanent alimony. Can one spouse really be forced to pay alimony for the duration of the other spouse’s life? The answer, in Pennsylvania, is a qualified “yes.” One spouse can indeed be required to pay permanent alimony in Pennsylvania. However, the matter is qualified because the Pennsylvania courts rarely award permanent alimony to a spouse. In this article, the Philadelphia divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will discuss the concept of permanent alimony, when it is awarded, and how it works.

What is permanent alimony in Pennsylvania? 

Permanent alimony is a type of alimony award that is paid on an indefinite basis. The Pennsylvania courts may award a spouse permanent alimony in a select number of cases. Those include when the dependent spouse is disabled, mentally or physically ill, or when their age or lack of marketable job skills makes the prospect of economic independence highly unlikely.

How is the amount of permanent alimony determined? 

There are two ways to determine an alimony payment in Pennsylvania. The first is by a negotiated settlement reached between the two spouses. The second is by court order. Courts tend to have discretion when it comes to calculating the amount of an alimony payment, making the matter a roll of the dice for both parties. In many cases, it is preferable for the spouses to reach a negotiated agreement on the matter. It keeps the power in your hands and avoids costly legal fees.

When spouses cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court will determine whether or not permanent alimony is necessary and what the amount will be.

Factors considered when determining alimony in Pennsylvania 

The courts can consider any of 17 total factors when evaluating a petition for alimony. When it comes to permanent alimony, the most important factors include:

  • The length of the marriage (longer is better)
  • The age and health condition of both spouses
  • Whether the spouse seeking alimony is capable of supporting themselves
  • The contribution of the spouse as a homemaker
  • The relative assets and liabilities of both spouses
  • The sources of income of both spouses

The two most important factors when determining permanent alimony will be the health and physical or mental fitness of the spouse who would receive alimony payments and the ability of the supporting spouse to make these payments.

Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Today 

The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of Philadelphia residents who are seeking divorce in the state of Pennsylvania. Call our Philadelphia family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing key issues related to your divorce right away.

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