Spousal Support and Alimony

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a form of financial assistance that may be paid by one spouse to the other spouse during the couple’s period of separation and before a court enters a divorce decree. Like child support, the amount of spousal support to be paid is calculated based on a formula found in the statewide Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. There are some defenses that may prevent a spouse from receiving support. These defenses raise issues that are often emotionally charged and accompanied by a lot of adversarial, court proceedings. In the Collaborative Process, spouses, their Collaborative Lawyers and Financial Specialists work together in a respectful, private setting to fashion a resolution that considers the financial needs of each spouse.

Alimony

Alimony refers to periodic payments that a spouse may receive after the court enters a divorce decree that terminates the marriage. Alimony may be appropriate if financially a spouse will be unable to support themselves after the divorce or will need to pursue education or training to get a job and become financially independent. In Pennsylvania, alimony is a secondary remedy, meaning that it is more likely to be awarded where the division of marital property does not provide sufficient resources to enable the financially dependent spouse to pay for reasonable living expenses after the divorce. There are a variety of factors, such as the relative earnings of the parties and the standard of living established during the marriage, that must be considered in determining whether a spouse is entitled to receive alimony post-divorce. Unlike child support or spousal support, there is no formula for calculating the amount or duration of alimony payments. The result is that spouses are often “stuck” in an adversarial environment that is time-consuming and costly. In the Collaborative Process, the spouses and their Collaborative Lawyers can choose to work with a Financial Specialist so that, as a Collaborative Team, they can craft a financial solution that, to the satisfaction of each spouse, incorporates various components of a financial settlement such as the division of marital property, alimony, and, if applicable, child support.

To schedule a confidential consultation and learn more, contact a member of Collaborative Law Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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