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Alimony can help ease post-divorce financial stress

The process of ending your marriage can be an emotional roller coaster. The thought of moving on can bring a sense of relief, but the unknown can also be rather intimidating -- particularly when your financial situation is about to significantly shift. Thankfully, there are those in Pennsylvania who qualify to receive alimony, which can help them stay financially afloat while they navigate post-divorce life.

Do you qualify for spousal maintenance? If so, how long can you receive it?

Alimony, spousal support, maintenance....what is it?

Alimony, also known as maintenance or spousal support, is monetary support provided from an ex-spouse. Why do courts sometimes grant this support? In many marriages, one spouse is financially dependent upon the other. So, when divorce enters the picture, the dependent spouse will face economic disadvantages as he or she tries to move forward. Alimony levels the playing field -- so to speak.

Eligibility

The court will look at a variety of factors to determine if you are eligible to receive alimony. These include:

  • Ages of you and your spouse
  • The length of your marriage
  • The earning capacity of both you and your spouse
  • Education levels of each spouse
  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Health of each spouse

The court will use these and several other factors to determine not only your eligibility but also how long you will receive alimony if it is ultimately awarded.

Types of alimony

Every state has different variations of spousal support. The most common types of alimony are:

  • Rehabilitative: Paid for a set period of time to help the receiving spouse until he or she is able to support himself or herself
  • Permanent: Paid until either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries
  • Lump-sum: Full support paid all at once

Your personal circumstances and the economic position of your spouse will determine which type of alimony applies to your case -- if any.

If ordered to pay, your ex will have to submit the required payments to a court approved depository. The trustee will pass the money on to you. By doing it this way, both parties will have the ability to keep better track of payments and limit unnecessary contact.

Think you qualify for alimony?

Alimony is not something that courts automatically give in every divorce case. If you think you qualify, you may, with the assistance of legal counsel, request to include financial support in your divorce agreement.

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