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What kinds of alimony are there?

Alimony is still something you can access in Pennsylvania if a judge deems it appropriate for your situation, which is why your attorney may want to gather information to support the need for it during your divorce. It's given to one spouse by order of the court to provide an addition to his or her income following divorce. Alimony is not always deemed necessary or ordered by a judge.

Alimony's main purpose is to provide an income to the dependent spouse. So, if a woman, for example, was a stay-at-home mom, she may not have been working. After a divorce, she could struggle to find a job quickly or may not be able to work as often while caring for her children. In that case, alimony could provide her with additional income necessary to live comfortably.

Alimony can be permanent or temporary. Permanent alimony is a lifelong support order that is designed to help the dependent spouse for the remainder of his or her life. This might be ordered in a case where one spouse always depended on the other or will never be able to work or support him or herself again after the divorce. Temporary alimony is more common, and it provides an income that helps support the spouse until he or she can obtain a job or full employment. Compensatory alimony is another kind that might be ordered. It's simply reimbursement that compensates a former spouse for help or contributions given during the marriage while the other was studying or training.

To determine if alimony will be provided, many factors are considered. The earning power of each person, sources of income and the ages and health of the couple will be considered. The duration of the marriage and expected inheritances will also be considered before a decision is made.

Source: Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc., "Alimony," accessed Nov. 02, 2015

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