Lancaster Spousal Support and Alimony Lawyer

Pennsylvania firm handles issues relating to pre- and post-divorce payments

When a marriage ends, many spouses don’t just lose a romantic partner, but the person whom they relied on for outside income while they took care of the household. This can present a significant hardship to a husband or wife who might not be immediately ready to support themselves financially in a manner consistent with their marital lifestyle. Chan & Associates is a Lancaster family law firm that provides determined, strategic representation in matters relating to spousal support and alimony. I will outline the applicable Pennsylvania law and give you an informed assessment regarding the possible result if the question is resolved in court. Regardless of whether you’re seeking payments or are being asked to send them, my firm is ready to pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Is there a difference between spousal support and alimony?

While some states draw no distinction between spousal support and alimony, there is a significant difference between the two here in Pennsylvania. Spousal support refers to payments sent from one spouse to another while they are separated but before their divorce has been finalized. Payments that are to be sent from one party to the other after the marriage has been dissolved are referred to as alimony.

Equitable reimbursement

Along with alimony, state law does authorize judges to order equitable reimbursement payments if one party supported the family while the other went to school or got job training to increase their earning capacity. These awards are not based on need, but are meant to restore fairness if one spouse made sacrifices to help the other, but otherwise would not be able to reap the benefits because the marriage has ended.

When would a spouse be entitled to alimony under PA law?

No formula exists to determine whether alimony will be awarded in a Pennsylvania divorce. The decision is left up to the judge’s discretion if the parties cannot work out terms on their own. As a seasoned Pennsylvania family lawyer, I can examine the circumstances in your case and provide a well-informed assessment as to whether a court would grant a request for spousal support.

Factors that determine spousal support

Pennsylvania law lists 17 factors to be considered by judges when issuing a decision on alimony or spousal support. Some of the most commonly used factors include:

  • The earnings and earning capacities of each spouse
  • Each party’s age, along with their physical, mental and emotional condition
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Child care responsibilities
  • The parties’ standard of living during the course of the marriage
  • The time and training needed for a recipient spouse to earn an appropriate income
  • Whether a spouse committed marital misconduct prior to the date where the couple separated

Courts have the discretion to look beyond the statutory factors as well in order to reach an equitable resolution.    

Does alimony end when the recipient gets remarried?

Once an alimony recipient gets remarried, their ex-spouse’s obligation ends. Typically, this is also the case if the recipient moves in with a new romantic partner. However, proving cohabitation can be difficult in some cases, and if the parties reached an alimony agreement on their own, there might be language that mandates continued payments even if the recipient lives with someone else.

Speak with an effective Lancaster attorney regarding your spousal support concerns 

Chan & Associates advises clients throughout south central Pennsylvania on a wide array of issues relating to Pennsylvania’s alimony laws. For a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, please call 717-869-0015 or contact me online. My office is in Lancaster.