Pennsylvania Alimony and Modification Orders
Your Options When a Change in Income Makes it Hard to Pay Spousal Support
Alimony in Pennsylvania is calculated based on a list of 17 spousal support criteria. These criteria are based on each spouse’s income during the marriage and at the time of the divorce. But, circumstances can change. Can alimony orders be modified if one spouse’s income changes significantly?
The Purpose of Alimony
The primary purpose of alimony in Pennsylvania is to allow the lower income spouse to meet reasonable financial needs and enjoy a standard of living that is comparable to the standard that existed during the marriage. The amount of support awarded is based each spouse’s income and standard of living during the marriage. The court also considers the following factors:
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
- The education of each spouse and how much education would be needed for the lower income spouse to obtain sufficient employment
- Each spouse’s ability to be self-supporting
- Each spouse’s available sources of income, including retirement benefits and insurance
- The assets and debts of each spouse
- Each spouse’s financial needs
- Each spouse’s age and physical, mental and emotional health
- The length of the marriage
- The separate property that each spouse brought into the marriage
- Any inheritances or expected inheritances
- Each spouse’s contribution to the other spouse’s education and career
- A spouse’s contribution to the marriage and family as a homemaker
- Each spouse’s contribution to the care of minor children
- Marital misconduct, abuse, and infidelity
- The effect of alimony of each spouse’s taxes
- Whether the spouse asking for alimony has enough property to meet financial needs
Paying PA Alimony When a Your Income Changes
If you lose your job or become disabled, your ability to pay alimony is affected. If paying alimony is causing financial hardship, you can request a modification of the alimony order. Common reasons for alimony modification include:
- Increase in the cost of living due to inflation
- Involuntary loss of income due to layoffs or job loss
- Medical emergency
You may also request a modification of the alimony agreement if your ex-spouse remarries, is living with a romantic partner, or has a significant increase in income and no longer needs your support.
Do You Need to Modify Your Child Support Order?
You shouldn’t struggle to pay spousal support. If you need to modify your child support order contact an attorney in your area or learn how your child support order can be modified to fit your current circumstances.