Each parent has a financial obligation to support their children (or child) in accord with the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. While some extraordinary expenses may be relevant, the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines are “income driven” whereby ones child support obligation (or spousal support and APL obligation) are principally a function of each parties monthly net income. Spousal support and APL are pre-divorce support obligations and alimony is a post divorce obligation.
The principal issues in alimony are amount and duration. In other words, how much money per month and for how long will one spouse be obligated to pay alimony to the other spouse. Unlike child support, spousal support or APL obligations which are established pursuant to the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines, the monthly award one receives in alimony is a function of their “reasonable needs.” The length of time that one must pay alimony to their former spouse depends largely on the length of the marriage and the “rule of thumb” is that one is entitled to spousal support/ APL/alimony for one year for every three years of marriage.