In most divorces, one of the most significant struggles couples face is separating their finances. For many separating couples, the practice of sharing their funds with one another has become such an expected part of everyday life that the thought of losing a portion of their income in divorce inspires some panic.

Alimony serves as a useful tool for former spouses who relied on their partner’s income, but alimony is never a guarantee during the divorce process.

Asking for alimony

In divorce proceedings, many legal agreements do come up naturally. For example, questions of child custody and property division arise almost like a built-in part of the divorce.

Alimony, however, is not a facet of divorce that judges or mediation professionals include as part of the standard process. For discussions about spousal support to commence, one spouse must make a request for support. The judge then determines whether or not that spouse should receive regular financial support and how much.

Alimony amounts aren’t automatic, either

As with any agreement associated with divorce, the result of the request for alimony requires work, too. Pennsylvania does not calculate spousal support according to a formula. In fact, the amount can vary significantly based on a number of factors, such as:

  • How much money each spouse could reasonably make
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed while married
  • How long they were married
  • The property and assets each received in the divorce
  • Instances of infidelity or marital misconduct
  • The liquid assets of the payee

The human element of divorce means a great range of flexibility in the amount, frequency and duration of alimony payments.

When facing divorce, be mindful of your financial needs and communicate your concerns with your divorce attorney. By providing detailed information about your finances and assets, you can help your attorney build a strong case for a spousal support agreement that works for you.