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How Do I Receive Alimony In A Pennsylvania Divorce?


One of the most frequently asked questions we receive involves alimony. Alimony is a concept under the law that affords spouses more versatility in how they approach the divesting of their marital estate. While some spouses believe that alimony is given in a divorce, that isn’t the case. Often, both spouses are going to be figuring out a way to divide their marital estate in half. Ultimately, the marital estate is what “backs” any alimony payments. This includes income that the paying spouse is likely to receive. The only way to prevent a marital estate from being divided like this is through a prenuptial agreement.

Ultimately, alimony is a way for one spouse to provide the other spouse with the value of 50% of the marital estate without actually divesting the estate. However, both parties are still bound by the estate itself and the value of the estate, so you aren’t splitting the estate in half and then also getting alimony. It’s part of an overall negotiation that allows both spouses to continue their lives in financial security.

When does the court force a spouse to pay alimony? 

There are numerous factors. However, all of these are usually present:

  • The spouse’s income is unable to meet their financial needs
  • The settlement of the marital estate will not meet their financial needs

If both of these are true and the spouse can still afford to pay a monthly stipend to the other spouse, then the court will force them to do so.

How is alimony determined? 

Alimony is determined by a number of factors, but the relative financial situation of the spouses will determine whether or not alimony is necessary. Alimony is generally necessary when one spouse was the primary breadwinner and the other spouse was more of a homemaker. Ultimately, a determination would be made as to whether or not the dependent spouse’s financial situation is tenable or not given their previous standard of living. So, an equation is employed with a number of dependent variables that can never be known prior to a divorce.

Negotiating alimony for spouses 

One spouse may not want to break up a business, divest their retirement accounts, or otherwise lose access to assets that they want to hold onto. In that case, the spouse may be able to take those assets off the table by offering an equivalent amount of liquid assets or the promise to make a monthly payment over a specific period of time.

An attorney protects the dependent spouse’s interests by ensuring that the financially savvier of the two cannot get away with undervaluing the estate and its assets.

Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Today 

The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of Philadelphia residents seeking a divorce. If you have any questions concerning child support, alimony, or more, please don’t hesitate to give our Philadelphia divorce lawyers a call.

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