Post-divorce spousal support is more common in the US and most couples are familiar with it. In Pennsylvania, the court reserves alimony to cases where one partner is financially dependent on the other and requires financial help to meet his/her basic living needs after the divorce.
The court expects each partner to become self-supporting after the end of the marriage, but realizes that some people may need more time to get a job or pursue education for finding employment that will help them be financially stable. That is why some courts call short-term alimony rehabilitative support, since it is aimed at providing financial help to the dependent spouse until he/she gains proper earning capacity.
Long-term or permanent alimony is not that common these days, although it can be awarded by the court if deemed necessary. This is especially in the cases where the dependent spouse cannot become financially independent because of an underlying health condition, injury, advanced age, or other valid factors. The courts usually award permanent spousal support to long-term marriages only.
Alimony is calculated by the court by considering several factors. This includes the earning capacity of each partner, their sources of income, age, as well as physical, mental, and emotional conditions. The expectancy and inheritances of both the partners are also taken into account and so is the duration of the marriage to decide the type, duration, and final amount of post-divorce spousal support.
Other factors, such as child support, contribution towards the spouse’s education, training, or improved earning ability, the established standard of living during the marriage, the assets and liabilities of both the partners, and the marital property, can also play a significant role in determining the alimony. Marital misconduct is also considered by the court when deciding the final terms of the spousal support.
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you to negotiate the terms of alimony with your spouse outside of court. You can then submit a written agreement to the court to speed up your divorce process. The court will honor the alimony agreement as long as it is fair for both the spouses.