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5 questions to ask before petitioning for spousal support

One of the main concerns people have during their divorce is whether they will be financially secure when the divorce is finalized. They worry about how they will pay their rent or mortgage, their medical bills, childcare expenses and car payments. They also think about what types adjustments they will have to make to their lifestyle.

If this is something you are worried about, then you may be wondering if will collect spousal support. Before you make any assumptions or decisions, you should ask yourself the questions that follow below.

  1. Is it necessary? Alimony is typically reserved for situations in which one spouse is at a financial disadvantage and if the courts deem it to be reasonable, according to state alimony laws.
  2. Can my ex afford to pay spousal support? Even if you need financial support, you may not receive it if your ex cannot afford it. The courts will assess both of your financial statuses to determine if your ex is able to pay support.
  3. Are there alternatives to consider? In some cases, you might negotiate alternatives to spousal support. If certain property or a larger share of the marital estate seems like a more attractive offer, then you may choose to pursue those in lieu of spousal support.
  4. Am I already divorced? If you are already divorced, you cannot file a request for support.
  5. Do I have a prenup? If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, then it is possible that the decision on spousal support has already been made. As long as a prenup is valid and enforceable, the courts will typically adhere to any conditions related to spousal support contained in that document.

Answering these questions can help you manage your expectations and clarify your options. You should also remember that spousal support is not awarded in every divorce, even if the divorce involves significant assets.

Should you have questions about the availability and likelihood of spousal support, you can consult an attorney who is familiar with spousal support laws and procedures in Pennsylvania and can explain your options.

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