Pennsylvania Alimony and Spousal Support Laws

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is paid to one spouse by the other to provide financial assistance during and after a divorce. The spouses may come to an agreement regarding the amount of alimony paid over a duration, or the court may order one of three types of support: spousal support, alimony pendente lite, and alimony. Read on to learn more.

Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite

Some couples may choose to separate without filing for divorce. If this occurs, a spouse can petition for spousal support. Spousal support refers to support paid after a couple separates, but before a divorce is filed. Alimony pendente lite (another temporary support order) refers to support given to a spouse during the divorce proceedings (alimony pending the litigation). The purpose of alimony pendente lite is to place the spouses on equal footing, financially, during the divorce. This includes assisting the dependent spouse with the costs of litigation in addition to assisting the dependent spouse with maintain their standard of living.

The court uses set guidelines when making an order for spousal support or alimony pendente lite. The spouses can enter into an agreement regarding spousal support and alimony pendente lite. The court will make a determination only when the spouses cannot reach an agreement. Contact our law office for information on how to obtain a spousal support or alimony pendente lite order.


Alimony is an order for support made after the final divorce judgment is entered. The financially dependent spouse receives maintenance. Alimony can be paid over a specified period or until set terms are met. The court considers the following factors when awarding alimony:

 Each spouse’s income and earning capacity

 The age, physical and mental condition of each spouse

 The duration of the marriage

 Any property each spouse is expected to inherit

 Whether each spouse helped each other increase their earning potential by obtaining training, education, or increased income during the marriage

 Whether a spouse has other expenses due to custody of a minor child

 The marital standard of living

 The education of each spouse and how long it would take to complete education and find sufficient employment

 The assets and debts of each spouse

 How alimony will affect each spouse’s taxes

 Whether the non-obligor spouse can self-support herself through reasonable employment

 The marital misconduct of either spouse during marriage

 The separate property each spouse brought into the marriage

 The assets and debts of each spouse

 Each spouse’s financial needs

Alimony may be modified based on changed circumstances. For example, if the non-obligor spouse has a significant change of income after the divorce, he/she may seek to have the alimony order modified. The obligor spouse can deduct alimony payments for income tax purposes.

Contact our Lancaster spousal support lawyers for more information about Pennsylvania alimony and spousal support laws. We can review your case and provide you with guidance on how much you may receive in spousal support and alimony.