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How Is Alimony Calculated In Pa

What Can You Expect To Pay

Alimony and Spousal Support Attorney in PA: What is Alimony? Comitz Law (570) 901-1235

There is no magic formula to calculate monthly alimony payments. This is because it is a negotiation process between competing attorneys. Also, there are so many different variables that are considered during negotiations.

To benefit the discussion, we refer to the two parties as the receiving and paying spouse. The receiving spouse could receive between 30 to 40 percent of the paying spouseâs income. This number decreases based on the receiving spouseâs income potential.

If the paying spouse is making child support payments, the alimony payment percentage decreases. The same is true if the paying spouse is still making alimony payments to another former spouse. If children and other alimony payments are factored in, the ceiling for alimony payments is likely 30 percent.

The income share will grow if the separating couple does not have any dependent children.

Determine How Long Alimony Will Last In Pennsylvania

The final question with regard to alimony in Pennsylvania is how long are you going to have to pay it? or how long are you going to be receiving it? Thats a big question that most people want to know. There is no easy answer to that question. It depends really on Id say the major factor is how has the marriage been? If its a really short marriage youre not going to get it for very long. If its been a really long marriage, if youve been married for 30 years, and youre both in retirement, it may be indefinite. You may have to pay or you may get it for the rest of your life. The tougher questions are those in-between marriages you know, 10, 15, 20 years.

While theres no easy answer, a good rule of thumb is 1 year of alimony for every 3 years of marriage. If youve been married for 15 years, a good rule of thumb to think is about probably 5 years of alimony. Now that will change depending on different factors- if someone is really close to retirement, and 5 years only gets them to 64, the court might give them a couple of extra years to get them to 67. If in equitable distribution the assets were distributed unevenly, say 60/40, then the court could potentially shorten the length of alimony. But if youre looking for a quick and dirty answer for how long you have to pay it, think about one year of alimony for every 3 years of marriage.

How Do I Calculate Alimony Payments

There is no formula to calculate post-divorce alimony in PA since it’s a discretionary issue with the court.

Here’s something that courts don’t necessarily require, but is actually one of the best ways I have found to help spouses calculate alimony in a mediated divorce. I have each spouse create a budget that reflects an estimate of their post-divorce living expenses.

This gives them a much better sense of what they need to comfortably live in a separate household . Likewise, the payer of alimony will prepare their own budget to determine how much they can reasonably afford and for how long, consistent with the financial needs of the payee spouse.

When spouses arrive at the alimony number with such scrutiny together, they’re often more likely to believe the payment is fair and therefore abide by their agreement.

Recommended Reading: How To Avoid Paying Alimony In Virginia

How Much Will A Parent Have To Pay In Support

In the state of Pennsylvania, child support is calculated by:

  • Determining Each Parents Income: First, each parents monthly income needs to be determined. This includes salaries, hourly wages, rental incomes, investments, and any other forms of income. Each side should subtract the amount of taxes they will pay to get their monthly income.
  • Example: Parent A nets $5,000 a month. Parent B nets $3,000 a month.
  • Adjusting for Spousal Support/Alimony: If one parent is receiving alimony or spousal support, then that amount should be added to his/her monthly income. In addition, the parent who is paying alimony or spousal support should subtract those payments from his/her monthly income.
  • Example: Parent A makes $5,000 a month but pays $500 in alimony. Parent As monthly income is $4,500 after alimony, while Parent Bs income is $3,500.
  • Combining Both Incomes: Once you have the monthly incomes, add them together.
  • Example: The combined monthly income is $8,000.
  • Calculating How Much Each Parent Contributes: After you have the total monthly income for both parents, take each parents monthly income and divide it by the total income.
  • Example: Parent As monthly contribution is $4,500/$8,000 or 56%. Parent Bs monthly contribution is $3,500/$8,000 or 44%.
  • Example: There are two children involved in this case. For a combined monthly income of $8,000, basic child support is set at $1,859.
  • When Does Alimony End

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    There is no specific law on the books in Pennsylvania to determine alimony length. This is another subjective ruling based on a number of factors brought up in court.

    A rule of thumb of one year of alimony for every three years of marriage is commonly referred to. However, this is just a rough estimate and subject to legal consideration.

    The objective of alimony is to buy time for the receiving spouse to gain financial independence. For some, this means going back to school or seeking professional training.

    For others, it means securing a job and working their way up the corporate ladder. The length of alimony is going to be a subjective decision from the judge. The judge will assess the various factors in an attempt to predict when this independence will occur.

    Certain life changes have an impact on alimony length. Alimony payments terminate if the receiving spouse gets remarried. Another termination event is if the receiving spouse moves in with a member of the opposite sex.

    Death is another obvious trigger for alimony to terminate. However, the court could order payments to continue if the paying spouse dies.

    There are conditions in which a court orders alimony payments to be permanent. A common example of this is when the receiving spouse is disabled and unable to pursue a job.

    Read Also: How Long Can Alimony Last

    How Much Is Alimony In Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania considers support for a spouse or child a priority responsibility. Therefore, a party is expected to pay their alimony or support obligations by reducing other expenses. Alimony is typically calculated on a case-by-case basis by the family court judge assigned to the case.

    The basic alimony, spousal support, or alimony pendente lite obligation is often calculated using the parties’ average monthly net incomes. Monthly net income is calculated by adding up an individuals income for 6 months and then dividing the total by 6.

    Per Chapter 23 Section 4302 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Status, income refers to all money received by an individual from any source, including but not limited to:

    • Salaries, bonuses, and commissions
    • Social security or disability insurance
    • Lottery winnings

    If a party paying alimony is a foster parent or receives payments from a public or private agency to care for a child. Such payments must be excluded from the party’s monthly net income when the calculation is done.

    How Do Judges Determine Alimony In Pennsylvania

    The factors that Pennsylvania judges must consider when determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony include the:

    • earnings and earning capacities of the spouses
    • ages and physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses
    • inheritances of the spouses
    • duration of marriage
    • contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other
    • extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of one of the spouses will be affected by having to care for a minor child
    • standard of living during the marriage
    • spouses’ education and how long it will take the spouse seeking alimony to find appropriate employment
    • tax consequences of any alimony award
    • property held by the spouse seeking alimony, and
    • inability of the spouse seeking alimony to self-support.

    When a judge enters an order regarding alimony, they must put the reasons for the award or denial in writing.

    Don’t Miss: How To Avoid Alimony In Ny

    Alimony Types In Pennsylvania

    There are three types of alimony based on when a spouse requests the payments during the divorce process. Spousal support is a type of pre-divorce payment where one spouse supports the other. For example, if a couple separates and begins living in different homes but is yet to file for divorce, one party can request the other to support them financially.

    Once one person files for divorce, the payment is called alimony pendente lite. In essence, it is the same as spousal support, but it has to bear a different name as the circumstances surrounding the separation change.

    Finally, post-divorce payments are known as alimony. Judges determine these payments differently from the first two, and these payments begin as soon as the divorce is finalized.

    Regardless of the alimony type, the higher-earning spouse is commonly the one who pays it. Thus, a court has to have access to the spouses earnings and financial records in order to determine who needs to pay.

    Finally, it is important to mention that alimony is always separate from child support. Courts calculate alimony first and then make decisions regarding the support of children that are still minors.

    How Much Is The Typical Alimony Payment In Pa

    PA Divorce Law 101: Alimony in PA

    There is really no way to predict what alimony payments will be when spouses decide to obtain their own attorneys and litigate the issue in court. There are too many variables at play. The issue effectively becomes a roll of the dice. Much will depend on the type of case presented by the attorneys on either side or the particular mood of the judge or divorce master.Too often, the real purpose behind alimony gets lost when spouses decide to litigate in court because the focus is on winning and losing. When spouses mediate alimony, they have the opportunity to together decide whether alimony will apply. Not only that, they decide a fair amount to pay and for how long, in accordance with their budgets and what they need and can reasonably afford.

    Recommended Reading: Can Va Disability Be Garnished For Alimony

    Does Adultery Affect Spousal Support In Pa

    Although you can no longer be sued or prosecuted for adultery in Pennsylvania, courts will consider adultery when determining if alimony is appropriate. Under Pennsylvania law, once a husband or wife is proven to have committed adultery, he or she is not entitled to receive spousal support. Adultery is generally not relevant in cases of alimony pendente lite. Adultery is a factor the courts consider when determining alimony, but it is only one of many factors and generally does not serve as the sole reason to grant or deny alimony. Adultery usually wont affect child custody and visitation in a divorce, unless the unfaithful spouses relationship had or has a negative impact on the children.

    Common Questions About Alimony In Pennsylvania

    Below are some of the most common questions people going through divorce ask as they complete the process.

    1. How Long Do I Have to Be Married to Get Alimony in Pennsylvania?

    The length of your marriage is indeed one of the 17 factors used in Pennsylvania alimony calculations. The longer the marriage, the greater the case for alimony, provided other relevant factors are present. However, there is no minimum length of time that a spouse must be married in order to be eligible for alimony.

    2. How Much Do People Typically Get When Obtaining Alimony In Pennsylvania?

    There is no way to predict what your payout will be, or if you will get one at all. This is determined by way of legal counsel and litigating the issue in the courts. There are too many different variables and contingencies involved in order to answer this right away.

    More often than not, the real reason behind alimony is lost when spouses make the decision to litigate in court, because they care so much about winning and losing. Some spouses choose to utilize mediation as one method of determining who will get what, if anything is paid out. This also helps cut down on attorney costs too.

    3. How Long Do I Have to Pay Alimony?

    4. Do I Get One Year of Alimony for Every Three Married Years?

    5. How Is Alimony Taxed?

    Recommended Reading: Can You Get Alimony After 5 Years Of Marriage

    How Is Spousal Support Calculated In Pa

    If the court decides to issue an order for spousal support, the amount of the payments will be calculated by using a mathematical formula.

    • The difference in the parties’ net incomes is multiplied by 30%, if there is already a child support order in place
    • The difference in the parties’ net incomes is multiplied by 40%, if there is no child support order currently in place
    • The resulting number is the amount that the higher-earning spouse will be ordered to pay

    There are also some other factors that a court might consider in deciding whether a specific case requires the court to deviate from this formula As you can see, even in the simplest form calculating spousal support can be extremely confusing. If you have any questions about spousal support, the experienced divorce attorneys at Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C. can help.Contact us today.

    Alimony Pendente Lite

    As with spousal support, if the court decides to grant APL it will determine the amount by using a mathematical calculation based on fixed percentages and the net incomes of the parties. Unlike for spousal support, however, claiming that your financially dependent spouse cheated on you will not get you out of paying. Acts that constitute a fault-based ground for divorce cannot be used as a defense to paying APL. If you have any questions about whether APL is a possibility in your case, we can help.Contact us today.

    About Alimony in Pennsylvania

    What Factors Do Family Courts Consider When Calculating Child Support

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    Pennsylvania family courts consider four factors when calculating child support:

  • Physical custody schedule: The parent who has the most overnight visits with the child will receive child support. For non-custodial parents who have their child stay overnight 40% of the year, there may be a discount on child support.
  • Number of Children: Child support is based on the number of children who will be receiving support and how custody is arranged for them.
  • Monthly Income After Taxes: How much a parent has to pay in support is based on each parents monthly income after taxes and alimony payments.
  • Additional Expenses for Raising a Child: If the child has a disability or another issue that can influence living expenses, these can be factored into the case.
  • Recommended Reading: How Much Is Alimony In Florida

    Alimony Spousal Support Or Alimony Pendente Lite

    Alimony, spousal support and alimony pendente lite are three terms that are used interchangeably, but are actually very different concepts under Pennsylvania law. The payment that is right for you will depend on whether you have filed for divorce and whether your divorce has been granted.

    Spousal support and alimony pendente lite are payments made during the separation period before the divorce becomes final. These payments may also be called maintenance. Alimony refers to periodic post-divorce payments paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce becomes final.

    How Does Alimony Work In Pennsylvania

    In Pennsylvania, either spouse may request alimony during a separation, divorce proceeding, or after a divorce is finalized. Generally, an alimony award is treated separately from divorce proceedings and may be agreed upon by both parties or awarded by the court. In Pennsylvania, a dependent spouse may petition the court to receive reasonable alimony pendente lite, spousal support, and counsel fees and expenses. Similarly, the court may also mandate that health insurance and coverage be maintained for the dependent spouse during the divorce proceedings. However, the court must issue an order before alimony payment may commence. When a court awards alimony, it determines the requestor’s eligibility, the financial situation of each spouse, the amount of alimony to be paid, and the length of time that alimony is to be paid.

    A spouse convicted of causing physical injury to the other spouse is not eligible for spousal support or alimony pendente lite. The injured spouse may recover any payment made to the dependent spouse by petitioning the court.

    If a party is behind on alimony, the court may do the following to get the defaulter to pay the arrears:

    • Conduct a hearing between both parties and enter a judgment mandating that the arrears are paid
    • Withhold no more than 50% of the party’s earnings
    • Charge interest on late payments
    • Require collateral to guarantee future payments
    • Order the arrest and possible incarceration of the defaulting party

    Also Check: What Do You Do To File For Divorce

    Dont Let Your Finances Trap You In An Unhappy Marriage

    Are you ready to take the first step to a better tomorrow? Contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC. Our alimony attorneys will talk to you about your financial options and help you make the decisions that will protect you now and in the future. Call 866-465-5395 to make an initial appointment.

    Related Pages

    What Are The Pa Alimony Guidelines

    Ohio Spousal Support Calculator – Part II

    Here are the 17 alimony factors considered by the PA courts . During divorce mediation, these are thoroughly discussed to achieve the fairest alimony settlement possible.

    • The relative earnings of both spouses.
    • The duration of the marriage.
    • The ages and physical, mental and emotional states of the two spouses.
    • The sources of income of both spouses. This includes medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
    • The expected future earnings and inheritances of the two spouses.
    • The degree to which one spouse has contributed to the other spouses education, training or increased earning potential.
    • The degree to which a spouse will be financially affected by their position as the custodian of a minor child.
    • The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage.
    • The relative education of the parties. This also considers the amount of time it would take for the spouse seeking alimony to acquire the education or training necessary to find employment.
    • The relative assets and liabilities of the two spouses.
    • The property each spouse brought to the marriage.
    • The degree a spouse contributed as a homemaker.

    Also Check: Copy Of Divorce Decree Wayne County Michigan

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