During and after a divorce, one spouse might be required to pay the other a sum to help to cover their living expenses. This is called spousal support or alimony. The amount that is paid is either an agreement made between the two separating parties or ordered by the court in Pennsylvania. There are three different kinds of spousal support orders in the state, all of which are exempt from bankruptcy. This means that if you file for bankruptcy, you will still have to pay support.
Alimony pendente lite and spousal support are agreements that are made before a divorce has been finalized. There are some occasions where an order is given before a separation has even been filed. Alimony pendente lite must be ordered after separation is filed, but before the divorce is completed. These two cannot be ordered together Alimony is ordered to be paid once the divorce decree has been complete.
Any spouse can ask for the second type, spousal support, during a divorce. This can help tremendously with debt relief and reorganization. There is not a clear guideline for the amount of spousal support that one will pay, but there are laws in Pennsylvania that govern the considerations made when deciding on the amount.
For the third type, general alimony, the court will look over every financial detail in the marriage, such as combined total income and debt as well as the total time the couple was married. They will then calculate a fair number based off that information. This system is designed to prevent one spouse from accruing enormous debts due to an inability to pay during a divorce.
Divorce can be very hard on finances. If you are feeling overwhelmed by alimony or spousal support, a bankruptcy attorney may be able to help you figure out how to reorganize your finances.