Jana R. Barnett, Esq
(610) 478-1860

23 Pa.C.S. §3701 Alimony

(a) General Rule.  Where a divorce decree has been entered, the court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.

(b) Factors relevant.  In determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

  1. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
  2. The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
  3. The sources of income of both parties, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  4. The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
  5. The duration of the marriage.
  6. The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
  8. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
  9. The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either party.
  12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
  13. The relative needs of the parties.
  14. The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage.  The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony; except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party.  As used in this paragraph “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
  15. The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
  16. Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
  17. Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.

23 Pa.C.S. §3702 Alimony pendent lite, counsel fees and expenses

In proper cases, upon petition, the court may allow a spouse reasonable alimony pendent lite, spousal support and reasonable counsel fees and expenses.  Reasonable counsel fees and expenses may be allowed pendent lite, and the court shall also have authority to direct that adequate health and hospitalization insurance coverage be maintained for the dependent spouse pendent lite.

23 Pa.C.S. §3703 Enforcement of arrearages

If at any time a party is in arrears in the payment of alimony or alimony pendente lite as provided for in sections 3701 (relating to alimony) and 3702 (relating to alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expenses), the court may, after hearing, in order to effect payment of the arrearages:

  1. Enter judgment.
  2. Authorize the taking and seizure of the goods and chattels and the collection of the rents and profits of the real estate of the party;
  3. Attach no more than 50% of the wages of the party.
  4. Award interest on unpaid installments.
  5. Require security to insure future payments.
  6. Issue attachment proceedings, directed to the sheriff or other proper officer of the county, directing that the person named as having failed to comply with the court order be brought before the court at such time as the court may direct.  If the court finds, after hearing, that the named person willfully failed to comply with the court order, it may declare the person in civil contempt of court and in its discretion make an appropriate order, including, but not limited to, commitment of the person to prison for a period not to exceed six months.
  7. Award counsel fees and costs.

23 Pa.C.S. §3704 Alimony

When so ordered by the court, all payments of child and spousal support, alimony or alimony pendent lite shall be made to the domestic relations section of the court which issued the order or the domestic relations section of the court at the residence of the party entitled to receive the award.  The domestic relations section shall keep an accurate record of all payments and shall notify the court immediately whenever a person subject to a payment order is 30 days in arrears of payment so that appropriate action may be taken to enforce the order of the court.  The domestic relations section shall distribute the payments to the person entitled to them as soon as possible after receipt.

23 Pa.C.S. §3706 Bar to alimony

No petitioner is entitled to receive an award of alimony where the petitioner, subsequent to the divorce pursuant to which alimony is being sought, has entered into cohabitation with a person of the opposite sex who is not a member of the family of the petitioner within the degrees of consanguinity.

23 Pa.C.S. §3707 Effect of death of either party

Upon the death of the payee party, the right to receive alimony pursuant to this chapter shall cease.  Upon the death of the payor party, the obligation to pay alimony shall cease unless otherwise indicated in an agreement between the parties or an order of court.