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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Divorce

Updated: 
February 5, 2020

Can I get alimony?

In Pennsylvania, a judge may find that one spouse will have to pay money to the other after a divorce, which is referred to as alimony. Generally, the judge will determine if alimony should be paid, and how much, based on whether it is reasonable and necessary.1

The judge will consider a series of factors in considering whether alimony is necessary and the nature, amount, duration and manner in which it should be paid. These factors can include:

  • The relative earnings and earning capacity of you and your spouse;
  • The age and physical, mental and emotional conditions of you and your spouse;
  • The source of income for you and your spouse (including medical, retirement, insurance and other benefits);
  • Any inheritance or other form of money you and your spouse expect to receive;
  • How long the marriage lasted;
  • The contribution you or your spouse made to each other’s education, training or “increased earning power;”
  • How the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of you or your spouse will be affected by having custody of a minor child;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The relative education of you and your spouse and the time it may take the spouse seeking alimony to get education or training to find employment;
  • The assets and liabilities of you and your spouse;
  • The property brought to the marriage by you and your spouse;
  • Contributions that you or your spouse made as a homemaker;
  • The relative needs of you or your spouse;
  • The “marital misconduct” of you or your spouse before the final separation date;
  • Abuse of one spouse to the other during the marriage, including after the final separation date;
  • The tax ramifications that may come with awarding alimony;
  • Whether you or your spouse, whomever is seeking the alimony, lacks enough property to pay for your “reasonable needs;” and
  • Whether the party seeking alimony cannot self-support through employment.2

After weighing the various factors, the judge will determine how much alimony will be paid and for how long it will be paid, which may be for a set period of time, or indefinite.3 If circumstances change for either spouse, the judge might modify, suspend, reinstate or make a new order. However, if the spouse receiving alimony re-marries, the alimony payments will end.4

1 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3701(a)
2 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3701(b)
3 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3701(c)
4 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 3701(e)