During a divorce, there are a multitude of matters to resolve from the distribution of assets to child custody. One of the most contentious issues in any divorce is often the payment of alimony. Although permanent alimony is rarely awarded in Pennsylvania as compared to other types of alimony, it is important to understand when it may be applicable given the substantial and long-term financial implications.
If you are currently going through a divorce and are concerned about how to protect your financial well-being, Pittsburgh divorce attorney Anthony Piccirilli can advocate for your interests throughout the proceedings and will help you negotiate an alimony agreement that is fair for both sides.
Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 today to schedule a free, initial consultation.
What is Permanent Alimony?
Permanent alimony may be awarded in cases where a dependent spouse is not capable of self-support due to a disability, mental or physical illness, or whose age and lack of marketable job skills makes the prospect of economic independence unrealistic. Permanent alimony payments can be life-long or for an indefinite period, depending on the needs and circumstances of both spouses.
Determining the Amount of Permanent Alimony Payments
As with any type of post-divorce financial support, the amount of permanent alimony payments can be determined by a negotiated alimony agreement or court order. The court has a good deal of discretion in calculating the alimony award, which makes it less predictable for both parties.
It is preferable for the two spouses to come to a mutual agreement regarding alimony because it can help you avoid prolonged court battles and generally results in a more fair and reasonable outcome.
When spouses are unable to reach a resolution on their own, the court will first have to determine whether permanent alimony is necessary and, if so, what the appropriate payment amount should be. Once an award of alimony has been ordered, the right to receive payments will cease under any of the following circumstances:
- The payer or recipient dies
- The recipient cohabitates with a person of the opposite sex who is not an immediate family member, or
- The recipient remarries unless the alimony agreement states otherwise
An order can be modified if the circumstances of either spouse change substantially and are ongoing.
In total, there are 17 factors that courts must consider when evaluating any claim for alimony. With respect to claims for permanent alimony, important factors include, but are not limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- The ages and physical, mental, and emotional condition of the spouses
- Whether the spouse seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment
- The relative needs of the spouses
- The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
- The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses
- The sources of income of both spouses, including, but not limited to medical, insurance, retirement or other benefits
Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC Today
The Pittsburgh alimony lawyers at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC understand how difficult and complicated divorce can be, which is why we pride ourselves on providing experienced and compassionate legal representation. When you work with our firm, we will answer any questions you may have, help you navigate the complex divorce court process so that you can focus on moving forward with your life.
Call (412) 471-5100 today for a consultation and to find out how we can help.