When you go through a divorce in Pennsylvania, the judge may make a ruling that requires you to pay alimony. Alimony or spousal support is a payment you make to your ex-spouse to help him or her with living expenses. The law lays out exactly when the court may award alimony and the details of the order.

Some states have caps or limits on alimony payments, but according to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Pennsylvania does not. In this state, there is no set time limit under the law. It is left up t the judge to make that determination. A judge can order payments for life or for a short term. It often depends on the specifics of the situation.

In fact, the law leaves a lot of decisions regarding alimony up to the judge in each case. The judge makes the decision on whether to award it or not, but the law does say it must be necessary based on earnings, earning capacity, future financial expectations, ages, health, how long the marriage was, assets, homemaker status, misconduct during marriage and tax ramifications. Essentially, the judge must make sure your ex really needs the payment and that you can afford to make the payment.

Because a lot is left up to the judge, you need to provide as much information as possible. You also need to make sure that you ask about the length of the payments and how to request a modification in the future. This information is for education and is not legal advice.