Although more and more are passing on the opportunity to obtain spousal support, rest assured that it remains available to those with a real need. In past eras, spousal support was almost a surety, but in the modern world, courts take more care to ensure it is necessary.
If you are wondering whether you qualify for an alimony award, it may help you to know how family law judges make spousal support determinations. Contrary to common belief, courts consider much more than mere dollar figures.
What do courts look at?
As you may expect, courts do delve into the financial side of things when making spousal support decisions. For example, they want to know all sources of income available to each spouse to identify economic needs.
Other factors courts often review include:
- The established standard of living
- The education level of the involved parties
- The future earning capacity of the spouses
- The expenses of each party
- The contributions the parties brought to the marriage
- The physical and mental health of the spouses
These are not hard and fast rules. You can expect the court to examine other factors unique to your specific circumstances.
Does marital misconduct matter?
Pennsylvania courts do not allow misconduct (adultery, etc.) to influence their alimony decisions, but they may look closely at abuse allegations. Another thing to consider is that residing with an unrelated person of the opposite sex may bar you from obtaining alimony.
When compared with some other states, Pennsylvania has fair spousal support laws. Still, if you believe you need alimony to survive, legal guidance could improve your odds of success.