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What are Maintenance Payments in Pennsylvania and Who Receives Them?

By Sheryl Rentz on May 5, 2011

Spousal maintenance payments, also known as alimony, are payments that a spouse who made most or all of the couple’s income makes to the other spouse, who made little or none of the couple’s income. Temporary maintenance payments are intended to help a party who has little education or job prospects live until they can complete an education or find a job.

Not all divorces in Pennsylvania will include maintenance payments. In cases where both parties are employed or have a good education, the court may not order maintenance payments, instead allowing each party to go on living on their own wages.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that utilizes mandatory guidelines to determine spousal support. The goal of the guidelines is to promote results that are reliable and consistent, which encourages settlement. These guidelines are different from the guidelines of other states in that they include a formula for spousal support, which other states do not.

In Pennsylvania, when spousal support is calculated, consideration is given to whether one party has any previous obligations in child support or spousal support of a previous spouse or other children. If there are no previous children and no prior obligations to child support, the spousal support will be 40 percent of the difference between the obligor’s net monthly income and the recipient’s net monthly income. If there are minor children involved, then the income difference is reduced by the amount of child support, with that result multiplied by 30 percent to determine spousal support. The length of the marriage is also taken into consideration, as is the amount of time an obligor spends with the children.

If you are considering divorce in Pennsylvania, please don’t hesitate to contact the highly trained and experienced Philadelphia spousal support lawyers at The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz. We can help you ensure an equitable separation that meets your needs and allows you to move forward with your life. If you have questions about spousal support in Pennsylvania or other divorce-related issues, call 610-645-0100 today.

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