Divorce is a difficult emotional event for all parties involved, even if the split is amicable between two spouses. In addition to the emotional stress, couples face a great deal of logistical and financial stress as they work with advocates to divide assets and resources.
Part of divorce proceedings is ensuring that the split of one household into two means both parties can maintain a fair standard of living after the separation. Some couples must consider spousal support and alimony in order to provide mutual financial security following a divorce.
Unlike child support, there are no standard calculators to determine spousal support or alimony. Instead, the courts look at a number of factors, including:
- Earning capacity
- Equitable property division
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Length of the union
- Each spouse’s lifestyle, health and age
- Whether children are present in the home
- Individual assets and income
The courts look not only at current factors but at potential ones as well. If one spouse could easily seek a higher paying job, or if one spouse left the workforce to care for the couple’s small children, the courts may adjust the amount of support awarded.
Spousal support vs alimony
In the state of Pennsylvania, the courts consider pre-divorce spousal support as well as post-divorce alimony. If one spouse is financially dependent on the other, a separation signals a cutoff from a number of resources both parties once retained. The spouse who will experience a much lower standard of living may receive pre-divorce financial support from the other.