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Delaware County Spousal Support Attorney

Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support

In Pennsylvania there are three types of spousal payments:

  1. The first is known as spousal support and is paid to the dependent spouse while the parties are still married and are undergoing divorce proceedings. While each case will depend on the individual circumstance, you will usually be required to meet with the court in an intake interview. This is where your situation will be assessed and where the judge will determine whether you require this form of support.
  2. Second and most notable is alimony. This is a form of support payment that is paid following the divorce. Again, this is assessed on a case by case basis and is not guaranteed. Whether this payment applies and how much it should be for will be calculated at the equitable distribution hearing.
  3. The last form of payment is alimony pendente lite, which applies before the divorce is finalized to ensure both parties can afford to undergo divorce proceedings. Unlike spousal support, the requesting party does not have to prove that they are legally entitled; only that they earn less than the other spouse.

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How Is Alimony Calculated?

There is no set calculation for determining alimony. Rather, the judge has discretion to set the type, amount, and duration of the payments based on certain factors. All together, a judge can use 17 factors in making their decision. The most prominent of these are:

  • Earning capacities and income of each spouse
  • Metal and physical state of each spouse
  • Source of income and benefits, e.g., retirement and insurance
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Contribution of each spouse in the other’s education, training, etc.
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Marital misconduct

Generally, the purpose of alimony is to ensure a spouse’s reasonable needs are met. Alimony is often viewed as a secondary remedy. Courts will first determine whether economic fairness can be achieved through an equitable distribution award.

It is also relevant to note that certain events can bring alimony payment to an automatic end. Common examples of these events include:

  • If a spouse remarries
  • Cohabitation of one spouse
  • Death

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How Can a Lawyer Help?

Attorney Sheryl R. Rentz has experience guiding Delaware County residents who are going through difficult divorces. Divorce can be an emotional event filled with uncertainty and anxiety, and complicated financial calculations make it harder. Having an experienced Delaware County family law attorney to make sure you get spousal support can be the difference between starting over deeply in debt or transitioning to a new life with the resources you need.

Take the first step by contacting our office at (610) 645-0100 for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. provides you with the representation that you deserve.

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