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Facts on Spousal Support in Cases without Dependent Children

By Sheryl Rentz on August 9, 2016

Those facing a divorce quickly come to the realization that there are potentially large financial issues and decisions that are now going to be rendered. Some of the major economic aspects of a divorce include the division and distribution of assets, child custody, child support, and spousal support/alimony. Pennsylvania courts have the duty and the power to design, order, and enforce what they determine is a fair resolution to maintain some economic justice and equity when finalizing a divorce.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is an order that a domestic court has deemed reasonable to insure both parties involved in a divorce have their basic financial needs covered. Typically, spousal support is awarded to the person with the lesser of the two incomes (or possible income) during the period of the divorce, which is commonly referred to as alimony. Many of these cases may last many months or years before a resolution is reached; therefore, in the interim, the court may order “alimony pendente lite”, which is a temporary order to be paid during the divorce proceedings. The Pennsylvania Code provides the court the authority to determine whether alimony is necessary and to determine the amount, duration & manner in which it is to be paid. The courts come to a conclusion on alimony orders based on a lengthy number of considerations and variables, (in cases without dependent children) some of which may include:

  • The earning levels of each party.
  • The health of each (physical/mental/emotional)
  • Short or long-term income sources or benefits such as pensions, insurance and such.
  • Inheritances
  • The number of years the marriage spanned
  • The basic standard of living that was established
  • Educational and occupational background and outlook
  • Assets that the parties had prior to marriage
  • Marital misconduct or abuse and many more…
The following sample illustration outlines a standard formula of steps that is used by courts in Pennsylvania to calculate spousal support in instances where there are no dependent children that resulted from the marriage:
  1. Spouse A has net monthly income of $4,000
  2. Spouse A has a $500 alimony obligation from a previous marriage, thus adjusted to $3,500

  3. Spouse B has a net monthly income of $1,800

  4. Spouse A exceeds the net monthly income of B by a difference of $1,700

  5. 40% of 1,700 = $680

  6. Deduction for Spouse A to directly pay the monthly health insurance premium payment of $230 for Spouse B

  7. $450 is the monthly spousal support amount

Are you going through a marital separation or divorce that will have significant financial ramifications? Sheryl R. Rentz is an attorney who specializes in family law that has been protecting the rights of those in the counties of Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia and Chester for nearly 25 years. We understand that family law cases feature a unique set of individuals, situations and challenges. The divorce process is an emotionally draining transitional period that has lasting consequences. Contact our office today at (610) 645-0100 to review your options through a free initial consultation.

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