Terminating Alimony In Pennsylvania
As mentioned above, a divorcing couple can decide when alimony ends. Otherwise, the court can determine that alimony will end at a specific time. While some orders have an end date, others are ongoing and do not establish an end date this is especially common in long-term marriages. However, if circumstances change, the court may change the order.
When does alimony end automatically?
- The receiving spouse lives with a member of the opposite sex who is not a member of their family.
- The receiving spouse remarries.
- The receiving spouse passes away.
- The paying spouse passes away, unless there is an agreement or order that says the alimony shall continue despite the death.
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
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What Can You Expect To Pay
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.
Gaining A Clear Picture Of Income And Assets
Determining alimony often becomes one of the more contentious aspects of divorce. It is important to clarify that alimony is not viewed by the court as a means for either party to get revenge.
It is not uncommon, however, for a party to attempt to hide income or provide incomplete or inaccurate information regarding income and assets. If necessary, we will work with forensic accountants, tax specialists, business valuators and others who can bring clarity to the total financial picture in order to obtain a fair judgment regarding alimony.
We have a strong track record of helping our clients reach agreement on alimony and other family law issues without the need to litigate. All of our lawyers are trial-tested, however, and we always prepare meticulously in case an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation.
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Learn Whether Living With A New Partner Or Getting Married Will Affect Your Alimony Payments
When couples divorce, itâs natural to wonder which spouse will pay or receive alimony as part of the divorce. Alimony isnât awarded in every case. However, when a judge determines that alimony is appropriate, itâs because an alimony award will help equalize the financial impact of divorce on both spouses.
Usually this means a higher-earning spouse will pay court-ordered alimony to the lower-earning spouse to help that spouse cover financial needs. Alimony wonât last forever and a supported spouseâs remarriage or cohabitation can cut an alimony award short.
This article provides an overview of alimony awards and the affect of remarriage or cohabitation on alimony in Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions after reading this article, you shouldcontact a local family law attorney for advice.
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How Is Alimony Calculated In Pennsylvania
To calculate net income for both the paying spouse and receiving spouse
Calculating Net Income = Total gross income – deductions
To calculate paying spouse net income for spousal support or alimony pendente lite
Net Income available for spousal support = Paying spouses net income – Paying spouses child support or alimony obligations to children or former spouses who are not part of this action
To calculate the paying spouse net income percentage for spousal support
Net income percentage for spousal support = Net income available for spousal support * 33% .
Net income percentage for spousal support = Net income available for spousal support * 25% .
To calculate the Paying spouses proportionate share of spousal support or alimony.
Paying spouses proportionate share of spousal support or alimony = Net income available for spousal support – Net income percentage for spousal support.
To calculate receiving spouses net income percentage for spousal support.
Receiving spouses net income percentage for spousal support = Net income available for spousal support * 40% .
Receiving spouses net income percentage for spousal support = Net income available for spousal support * 30% .
To calculate the receiving spouses proportionate share of spousal support or alimony.
Receiving spouses proportionate share of spousal support or alimony = Net income available for spousal support – Net income percentage for spousal support.
To Calculate the Preliminary Monthly Spousal Support.
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The Basics Of Alimony
Before you know whether or not you qualify, you should really be aware of what alimony is. These monthly payments are ordered by a judge to help a spouse pay their financial obligations each month.
Alimony is often granted to a stay-at-home spouse, who sacrificed a career or schooling to support the other spouses career. It is meant to give this spouse some temporary financial relief while he or she looks into gainful employment, or the training he or she would need to obtain a position that can pay the bills and maintain a similar standard of living.
Alimony payments are ordered after the divorce is finalized. Pennsylvania also has two other types of payments that could be ordered. Spousal support is a payment given after the separation, but before the divorce is set in motion. Alimony pendente lite is a payment given while the divorce is pending.
At any given time, you may only receive one of these three payments. The court order must specify the amount of money that the receiving spouse will get each month, which keeps the number from fluctuating due to one spouses spending habits in a given time period.
How Are Debts And Assets Divided Up In Pa
After the divorce complaint is filed, either party can ask the court to divide the marital assets and debts. The court must divide the marital assets and debts in a fair manner. Marital assets include most items acquired during the marriage even if the item is listed on the title or deed as belonging to only one spouse. If one spouse owned real estate before the marriage, and it has increased in value during the marriage, the increase in value is a marital asset which the court must consider.
In dividing the marital assets and debts, the court considers many factors including but not limited to: the length of the marriage the needs of each party the age, health, and income of each party who will have primary custody of the children and the contribution of each party to acquiring and improving the marital property . In dividing the marital assists and debts, the court does not consider marital misconduct before the separation.
The law is very complicated concerning the division of marital assets and debts. Make sure you talk with an attorney before you make any assumptions about how these items should be divided.
Warning: If a divorce becomes final before you formally in writing request the court for property distribution, you may lose your right to obtain it.
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Factors That Play A Role
In the state of Pennsylvania, alimony is defined as monthly payments made from one spouse to another. Many misconceptions exist regarding how spousal support is determined. The first, and most prominent, is that alimony will only be ordered in cases where the marriage lasted a number of years. Another misconception is that the receiving spouse is entitled to one year of spousal support for every three years of marriage. While these beliefs are based on some truth, there are a multitude of factors that are used to determine the amount of alimony payments. Other elements that a judge might consider when calculating spousal support or alimony include, but are not limited to:
- The reason the divorce is being sought and whether both spouses agree that the divorce is necessary
- How long the marriage lasted, and in most cases, a person will not be granted spousal support if the marriage ends after only a few months
- Whether or not the spouse that is more financially successful can afford to make monthly alimony payments
- Whether or not the receiving spouse has the ability to get a job and arrange their own finances
How To Modify Alimony In Pennsylvania
Either spouse can request a modificationeither to reduce or increase alimonyfrom the court, but only when the spouses don’t have a written agreement not to change the order. As long as modification isn’t prohibited by an agreement or order, a Pennsylvania judge can modify an alimony order when there are substantial and continuing changes in the circumstances of either party. .) For example, a change of income resulting from retirement might constitute a substantial change to modify an alimony award.
To modify an alimony order, the party seeking the change should file a Petition to Modify Alimony Order. The court will schedule a hearing to decide the matter. To see examples of petitions, check out Montgomery County’s instructions for filing a Petition to Modify and Philadelphia County’s fillable petition. Check with your local court clerk to see if the court requires you to use a certain form.
You might be able to file a petition for modification of alimony online if you’re also paying child supportyou can submit the petition through the PA Child Support Program, which will forward the request to the county domestic relations section. A court will still have to approve the modification.
Alternatively, former spouses could agree to mediate the issue of changing or terminating their alimony order. If they reach an agreement, they can submit it to the court to be entered as a new order.
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How To Avoid Paying Alimony In Pennsylvania
There are serious consequences if an individual fails to pay alimony. These range from criminal charges to seizure of assets. There are several legal ways to avoid paying alimony in Pennsylvania. Some of these are:
- Enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage
- Provide evidence of spousal infidelity during the marriage.
- Prove that the spouse is gainfully employed and does not need alimony
- Get the court to have the spouses employability and fitness to work evaluated
- Prove that the spouse is cohabiting with a person of the opposite sex
- Provide evidence of inability to pay said alimony
When Alimony Can Be Terminated In Pennsylvania
Although it may be common knowledge that alimony terminates upon remarriage, section 3706 also provides for an alimony award to terminate upon cohabitation of the party receiving alimony. Oftentimes, this section poses a concern for Pennsylvania divorce clients who plan to move in with family members, as a result of the financial impact of a divorce. However, section 3706 is not meant to address this type of cohabitation rather, it only applies to cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex who is not a member of the family of the petitioner within the degrees of consanguinity.
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Alimony In Pennsylvania: Your Complete Guide
Alimony payments can be a source of contention for many couples, which contributes to the turmoil that most people feel during a divorce. One spouse often feels entitled to financial support, while the other prefers not to part with their hard-earned cash, or to support someone that they are no longer married to. Therefore, the process of qualifying for and receiving alimony is frequently misunderstood by both parties.
In Pennsylvania, there are some clear rules about how alimony payments should be handled. While judges are making a decision about whom will qualify, there are a few grey areas for judges. However, many of the standards are already set in stone. If you have been wondering how to proceed with requesting alimony payments or how to avoid paying them, you need to know how the state handles this type of support.
The 17 Alimony Factors In Pennsylvania
Its important to keep in mind that despite all the factors laid out to simplify alimony award decisions made by courts, Pennsylvania laws do not automatically entitle either party to alimony. Courts will evaluate the following factors when deciding the type, duration, and amount of post-divorce alimony:
- Relative earning capacity of each spouse
- Age, physical and mental health of each spouse
- Inheritances of each spouse
- Contribution to spouses education
- Children: whether earning capacity of the custodial parent is affected
- Standard of living during marriage
- Employment and education opportunities
- Property brought to the marriage
- Liabilities and assets
- Contribution as a homemaker during marriage
- The needs of both spouses
- Tax effects of the alimony award
- Whether the supported spouse has property to meet financial needs
- Whether the supported spouse is capable of becoming self-supporting through employement
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How Death Affects Alimony In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, alimony also may terminate upon death of the party paying alimony, pursuant to section 3707. In cases where a party relies substantially on the receipt of alimony payments, this provision can pose a significant problem, which is why it may be necessary to secure the alimony obligation by way of a life insurance policy on the party paying alimony. This type of arrangement must be secured prior to entry of the divorce decree, and at the time that the alimony award is entered. Otherwise, absent agreement of the parties, alimony will terminate upon the death of the party paying alimony, potentially leaving the receiving party in a precarious financial situation.
Attorneys who specialize in family law know that Pennsylvania courts in the various counties, such as Bucks County, have developed rules of thumb to simplify the alimony issues. There are ratios that aid courts in determining the duration of alimony warranted by a marriage of a certain length there is reliance on the more straightforward Pennsylvania Support Guidelines to provide for a consistent manner in which to calculate the amount of the alimony award and there is targeted consideration of the equitable distribution settlement and how that intertwines with the alimony award . Overall, for both the paying and receiving parties, alimony is a crucial issue that must be dealt with carefully. Otherwise, both parties may end up with an unfavorable result.
Know That Alimony In Pennsylvania Is Calculated Before Child Support
Third, and this is new for 2019 and beyond. Alimony is going to be calculated before child support. In the past, if you had minor children that were going to be subject to a child support order that was calculated first, and then alimony. That is now flipped as of 2019. Whether or not you have children you are going to calculate alimony first, and then if you have children then you will go on to calculate the child support. The way spousal support and APL are calculated in Pennsylvania is pursuant to a mathematical formula. It has to do with the percentage of each parties net monthly income, and by net monthly income, I mean how much money do you have after youve paid taxes that month. Maybe you earn $7,000 gross a month, you pay your taxes, and then you end up with a net income of $5,000. The calculation is going to be based on your net income and your spouses net income.
The second part of the formula is that you have to know if youre going to have a child support order or not because the percentages of each of your net incomes thats used in the calculation are going to be different. Without children, you take 33% of the obligors net income and 40% of the obligees net income, and then the difference is going to be alimony. With children, youre going to take 25% percent of the obligors net income and 30% of the obligees net income, and then again, the difference is going to be how much is payable in spousal support or alimony pendente lite.
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