What to know about Alimony in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Alimony in Buck's County PA

Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is just north of Philadelphia and home to cities including Doylestown, Langhorne, New Hope, Newtown, Washington Crossing, and Yardley.  Determining alimony in Buck’s County can vary in payment amount, duration, and subsequent or ongoing reviews of spousal needs.

What is alimony?

Alimony provides financial assistance to a spouse or former spouse in a financially disadvantaged position after a divorce or separation. According to Investopedia, the definition of alimony is. “An alimony payment—also called a “spousal” or “maintenance” payment in some parts of the United States—is a periodic, predetermined sum awarded to a spouse or former spouse following a separation or divorce. A legal decree or court order outlines payment structures and requirements to fulfill alimony.”

Courts of Pennsylvania and other states are mandating that both parties to the action be required to participate in the mediation process as a step in the litigation but aims to discourage the adversarial relationships so often created and maintained in typical court settings. In divorce mediation, alimony is discussed and settled in a calm, non-adversarial environment.

What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?

These terms are similar. However, spousal support is determined before the finalization of divorce. Alimony is the amount paid following the final divorce decree. Additionally, alimony is often referred to as an outdated term, with an emphasis on ‘men supporting women’. Spousal support is more about the spouse with the means to support the other spouse before, during, or after the divorce.

What are the types of alimony?

There are three types of Pennsylvania alimony laws:

  • Alimony Pendente-Lite is a Latin term meaning ‘pending litigation.’ It refers to temporary support or alimony during divorce proceedings. Pendente-Lite alimony is designed to provide financial support to a lower-earning spouse while the divorce is pending, ensuring that they can continue to meet their basic needs.
  • Spousal Support requires one spouse to support the other and make payments to provide necessary living expenses. Usually, this term applies to payments made prior to the divorce proceedings.
  • Post-Divorce Alimony occurs only when necessary and is awarded based on a list of factors. (See below). Additionally, the length of a marriage can determine the duration of alimony payments. Alimony can supplement employment and keep the unemployed spouse from requiring state aid and services. 

Why do people have to pay alimony?

Payments are generally determined in cases where one spouse earns a higher income than the other. When a married couple becomes legally separated or divorced, both parties can agree to the conditions of alimony on their own. However, if they can’t come to an agreement, then a court may determine the legal obligation—or alimony—for one individual to provide financial support to the other. Some of the things that a judge will consider include:

  • The reasonable expenses that each party will incur
  • If alimony can make it possible for the receiving party to maintain a lifestyle that is close to what the couple had during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The financial situation of each spouse
  • The economic and noneconomic contributions that each spouse made to the marriage
  • Any economic opportunities lost due to the marriage
  • Any other factor that a judge deems pertinent to determining whether alimony should be awarded and how much

Alimony payments may not be issued if spouses have similar annual incomes or the marriage is relatively new. A judge—or both parties—also might set an expiration date at the onset of the alimony decree, after which time the payer is no longer required to provide financial support to their spouse. (Investopedia) It is important to note that both parties can waive alimony.

Will I lose alimony if I get engaged?

This is not an easy question with a simple answer. Judges often refer back to the divorce agreement and the terms and length of the alimony payments. Dating does not usually affect the alimony payments, but cohabitating may, depending once again, on the terms of the support. If living with someone reduces your expenses, the subsequent need and terms for financial support may be modified or reduced.

In most states, alimony is terminated when the ex-spouse remarries.

How do I get help with alimony in Bucks County, Pennsylvania?

Unlike mediation, divorce can be inherently adversarial and emotionally and financially costly to both parties and the children. Mediation can lead to renewed communication and a better overall resolution. Safer Divorce understands the importance of conflict resolution in Bucks County divorce mediation matters. John Millett’s divorce was resolved through mediation, but only after great emotional and financial expense!

Safer Divorce makes the process as seamless as possible, and we do everything we can to ensure our clients are satisfied.

We know getting a divorce in Bucks County can be difficult, and finding someone who truly understands what you are going through might be challenging. Contact John Millett for a free consultation if you are searching for affordable and reliable Bucks County divorce mediation.

Divorce Mediation in Buck's County PA

 

Resources: Investopedia

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