When you get a divorce, one of the issues the court may address is the awarding of alimony. These spousal support payments are something the court uses to ensure that one spouse does not suffer financial hardship after a divorce.

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, a court may order alimony for any amount of time it determines is necessary. The court has the right to award lifetime alimony, or it may set payments for a specific period. It is possible for you to seek a modification of an order at a later date, including changing the length of the award.

The court must find that alimony is something that your former spouse needs and that it is reasonable to expect you to pay it. Of course, this is at the court’s discretion. The court will consider a range of factors when making the decision. These factors will look at your spouse’s ability to financially support him or herself, and your ability to provide financial support.

General considerations

The court will consider general information about you and your marriage. It will think about how old you and your former spouse are and your general health condition. It will look at how you handled finances during the marriage. For example, did your spouse work to put you through college and then stay home to raise your children after you graduated and found employment? Something like that will play into the court’s decision.

Financial considerations

The court will also think about your general financial situation. It will want to see that both of you earn or have the potential to earn a reasonable salary to support yourselves independently. It will consider who takes care of the children the majority of the time, including any special needs your children may have. In addition, the court will consider the property division agreement you came to during your divorce.