The recent changes in the federal tax law changed the way Pennsylvania calculates alimony since effective 2019 the federal government changed the alimony laws to eliminate the deductibility of alimony.
In Pennsylvania is that there’s really three types of alimony in Pennsylvania, and they are similar versions of each other. These are:
Spousal support is the equivalent to alimony that’s paid pre-divorce. When spouses separate, yet but nobody has filed for divorce one of you may be seeking spousal support. This usually means that one of the spouses has moved out of the mutual residence.
Alimony pendente lite. During the pendency of divorce, once someone’s filed a divorce complaint, then it’s called alimony pendente lite and both spousal support and alimony pendente lite ( APL) are calculated exactly same and it’s pursuant to a mathematical formula; and
Alimony, which is support paid to a spouse or ex-spouse post-divorce, and is calculated differently and takes into account additional factors.
Support and alimony is calculated in Pennsylvania is that the alimony is always paid by the higher-earning spouse, whether it’s the husband or the wife; whoever earns more money is going to be the one who pays the alimony.
Alimony is going to be calculated before child support. In the past, if you had minor children that were going to be subject to a child support order that was calculated first, and then alimony. That is changed as of 2019 and the implementation of different tax treatment. Whether or not you have children you are going to calculate alimony first, and then if you have children then you will go on to calculate the child support. It has to do with the percentage of each parties’ net monthly income, and, the calculation is going to be based on your net income and your spouse’s net income. Further, the formula is that you have to know if you’re going to have a child support order or not because the percentages of each of your net incomes that’s used in the calculation are going to be different. Without children, you take 33% of the obligor’s net income and 40% of the obligee’s net income, and then the difference is going to be alimony. With children, you’re going to take 25% percent of the obligor’s net income and 30% of the obligee’s net income, and then again, the difference is going to be how much is payable in spousal support or alimony pendente lite.
The obligor pays the alimony and the obligee gets the alimony.
There are two components. First are there children? Secondly, are there Minor Children? Also, if there was no marriage, there’s not going to be any of these. For Couples Without Minor Children, Take 33% of the Higher-Earning Spouse’s Monthly Net Income and Subtract 40% of the Lower-Earning Spouse’s Monthly Net Income. The Difference is the Monthly Amount of Spousal Support or the Alimony Pendente Lite.
Now if the couple has children that are minors that are going to be subject to a child support order, the calculation is slightly different. For Couples With Minor Children, Take 25% of the Higher-Earning Spouse’s Monthly Net Income and Subtract 30% of the Lower-Earning Spouse’s Monthly Net Income. The Difference is the Monthly Amount of Spousal Support or Alimony Pendente Lite.
Again, that formula is going to apply no matter what the net incomes are for spousal support and alimony pendente lite. Like I said earlier alimony is calculated a little bit differently in Pennsylvania, it’s actually calculated pursuant to a list of factors, at least allegedly. Some courts will still use the formula,; at least as an initial benchmark or point-of reference.
The most important factors
The earnings of the parties;
The ages and health of the parties. This includes the disparity in age, so that the court may look to see the longevity of future earning capcity., the expectation of a future retirement;
The sources of income including the expectancies of inheritance;
The length of the marriage;
The education of the parties and is there a disparity or the further opportunity to address that disparity through education of one of the spouses;
The relative assets of the parties;
Does one of the parties have a large estate that was inherited or had signifiant assets pre-marital;
Special needs of the parties; and
The final issue to alimony in Pennsylvania is how long are you going to have to pay it or how long are you going to be receiving these payments That’s a big question that most people want to know. There is no easy answer to that question. It usually depends really on long the If it’s a really short marriage you’re not going to get it for very long. If it’s been a really long marriage it may be indefinite. While there’s no easy answer, a good rule of thumb is 1 year of alimony for every 3 years of marriage.