Financial support is a common concern in divorce cases. To learn more about the different types of financial support and how they operate in Pennsylvania, continue reading below.

1. What is the difference between spousal support and alimony?

Spousal support (and alimony pendente lite) is paid during the pendency of the divorce action and is calculated using an income-based calculation prescribed by statute.  Alimony is a needs-based calculation and is paid after the divorce is finalized.  For a true alimony calculation, both parties are required to submit income and expense statements to show what “need” the dependent spouse has and to determine whether the independent spouse has funds available to assist in meeting those needs after her or she has met their own needs.

2. Are alimony payments tax deductible?

Alimony payments are no longer tax deductible.  If your “agreement” or Court Order was signed prior to January 1, 2019, you could be “grandfathered in” to the old law which required that the recipient pay taxes on alimony and allowed the payor to use alimony payments as a deduction.  For agreements or Court Order signed after January 1, 2019, the spouse paying alimony pays the tax, the recipient does not. 

3. Do I still have to pay alimony if my ex gets remarried?

Unless your agreement states otherwise, alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the recipients’ marriage or cohabitation. 

4. Can I request an accounting of how my ex spends spousal support/alimony? 

No.  The intention with the entry of a Support Order is for parties to separate financially and the paying spouse does not have the ability to dictate how support is spent by the receiving spouse nor does he/she have a right to an accounting of how the funds were spent.  If there is an issue with joint bills not being paid in a timely manner, that is a separate issue to discuss with your attorney relative to the divorce. 

5. What about health insurance? 

During a divorce, things should stay status quo.  This means that if you are covered by your spouse’s health insurance plan, he/she should keep you on the policy until the divorce is final.  If support is calculated through Domestic Relations, the cost of health insurance premiums will be shared by you and your spouse in proportion to your respective incomes and is part of the spousal support calculation.  Unreimbursed medical expenses are treated differently; the person receiving support is generally responsible for the first $250 annually and any costs exceeding $250 are then split proportionate to each party’s respective income.  

If you would like to explore your options regarding divorce and financial support, you should speak with an experienced West Chester attorney. At Potts, Shoemaker & Grossman, LLC, our attorneys are prepared to assist you in finding the best approach for your individual situation. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us at (610) 840-2626.