During divorce, you may be concerned about your financial state once the process is finalized. You may be wondering whether alimony will be involved, and what child support payments will look like.

If you are a man, you may believe that paying alimony is inevitable. If you are a woman, you may believe that receiving child support is a given. However, these assumptions may be incorrect.

What is alimony?

An alimony payment is made post-divorce from one spouse to the other. It is based on the financial need of the spouse requesting the alimony payment. In Pennsylvania, neither party is automatically entitled to alimony. The court will determine whether alimony is necessary based on several factors.

In the past, it seemed more common for the man to pay alimony. Now that more women are attaining higher level jobs, and a greater number of men stay home with the kids, this is not always the case. There are more instances where women are required to make alimony payments to their ex-husbands.

Do you have to be married a certain amount of time to receive alimony?

The length of your marriage is not one of the factors that the court evaluates to determine alimony. Usually, longer marriages are accompanied by more factors that would support the need for alimony payments, but the length of the marriage itself is not the determining factor.

How long do alimony payments last?

There is no formula to show how much or how long one spouse needs to pay alimony after divorce. Each family’s unique circumstances will impact their use of alimony. It will be up to the discretion of the court to evaluate each case, determine financial need and the ability of the other spouse to pay. Many times, alimony is a temporary fix as one person makes payments to their ex-spouse until they are able to become financially secure. This may come after debts have been paid or they finish professional training or a school degree and can begin a new career.

Can alimony be determined through collaborative divorce?

Deciding on alimony support during collaborative divorce may be difficult since both parties will be concerned about their own financial well-being post-divorce. This can be achieved if both spouses can agree to budgets after the divorce. By evaluating the income potential and expenses of each spouse, they will both be able to clearly see what will be needed by each to live reasonably and what can be afforded.

If you are considering divorce and wondering if you will either pay alimony or receive alimony, an attorney can answer these questions after evaluating your situation.