How Pennsylvania Calculates Alimony And Pre-Divorce Support

As part of divorce cases, couples have to resolve issues relating to child welfare and the division of assets and debts. Alimony is also a vital element that spouses have to agree on before finalizing a divorce. It’s a monthly payment that one spouse makes to the other, based on a court order or a mutual agreement.

Alimony is usually a post-divorce payment to help smoothen one spouse’s transition from married to single life. It is payable to the least earning spouse from the higher-earning spouse.

In Pennsylvania, there’s no discrimination between husbands and wives; whoever earns more pays the alimony. If you’re concerned about getting fair alimony, there are divorce lawyers in Delaware County PA, that can represent you.

Pre-divorce Support

There are two other forms of alimony in Pennsylvania, depending on the stage of the divorce process.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a temporary financial aid that a dependent spouse receives after a separation, but before filing for divorce.

Alimony Pendente Lite

Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is also temporal, and it’s available to the dependent spouse after any of both spouses file a divorce lawsuit. It ends when a court finalizes the divorce. This form of support helps to cover living expenses and divorce-related costs for the dependent spouse.

Calculating Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite

Pennsylvania has guidelines for determining pre-divorce support payments. These payments are not automatic, as the lower-income spouse will have to request or apply for them in court.

A spouse can request for spousal support when they leave an abusive marriage, or the other spouse moves out of the home. The court may deny a spousal support claim if the requesting spouse was the abusive one or committed adultery. This denial is known as an entitlement defense, meaning the requesting spouse is not entitled to support.

With alimony pendente lite, there’s no entitlement defense, and a spouse can request support even though their actions caused the divorce.

From the state’s guidelines, the court will derive a basic payment for both spousal support and APL. The court may increase or decrease this basic payment to suit the spouse’s financial needs. When applying for any pre-divorce support, it’s best to hire knowledgeable divorce lawyers in Delaware County PA.

Calculating Alimony in Pennsylvania

In deciding the duration and amount of alimony, Pennsylvania courts generally evaluate the following criteria:

  • Earnings of both spouses
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age, and emotional, physical and mental health of each spouse
  • Sources of income
  • Assets and liabilities of each couple
  • Assets each couple brought to the marriage
  • Presumed future earnings and inheritances of both couple
  • Whether a custodial parent’s earning capacity is decreased
  • If one spouse contributed to the other’s education or higher earning capacity
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Whether one spouse contributed as a homemaker during the marriage
  • Needs of both couples
  • Marital misconduct such as abuse, on the part of one or both spouse
  • Whether the dependent spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for their needs
  • Whether the dependent spouse cannot support himself through an employment

The duration a spouse can receive alimony depends on the length of time both couples were married. A short marriage duration may mean a short period of alimony payments. A judge might deny alimony if the spouse applying for the support provided grounds for divorce.


Divorce cases involving alimony, spousal support, and alimony pendente lite calculations may be complicated. If you’re getting a divorce, you may be worried about your financial situation. However, some of the best divorce lawyers in Delaware County, PA, can help to protect your interests.

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Clyde Meyer

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