ALIMONY AND SUPPORT
3702. Alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expenses.
3703. Enforcement of arrearages.
3704. Payment of support, alimony and alimony pendente lite.
3705. Enforcement of foreign decrees.
3706. Bar to alimony.
3707. Effect of death of either party.
Enactment. Chapter 37 was added December 19, 1990, P.L.1240, No.206, effective in 90 days.
§ 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, including, 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.
(c) Duration.--The court in ordering alimony shall determine the duration of the order, which may be for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.
(d) Statement of reasons.--In an order made under this section, the court shall set forth the reason for its denial or award of alimony and the amount thereof.
(e) Modification and termination.--An order entered pursuant to this section is subject to further order of the court upon changed circumstances of either party of a substantial and continuing nature whereupon the order may be modified, suspended, terminated or reinstituted or a new order made. Any further order shall apply only to payments accruing subsequent to the petition for the requested relief. Remarriage of the party receiving alimony shall terminate the award of alimony.
(f) Status of agreement to pay alimony.--Whenever the court approves an agreement for the payment of alimony voluntarily entered into between the parties, the agreement shall constitute the order of the court and may be enforced as provided in section 3703 (relating to enforcement of arrearages).
(Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Mar. 24, 1998, P.L.204, No.36, eff. imd.)
1998 Amendment. Act 36 amended subsec. (b)(14).
1997 Amendment. Act 58 amended subsec. (b).
Cross References. Section 3701 is referred to in section 3703 of this title.
§ 3702. Alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expenses.
(a) General rule.--In proper cases, upon petition, the court may allow a spouse reasonable alimony pendente lite, spousal support and reasonable counsel fees and expenses. Reasonable counsel fees and expenses may be allowed pendente lite, and the court shall also have authority to direct that adequate health and hospitalization insurance coverage be maintained for the dependent spouse pendente lite.
(b) Exception.--Except where the court finds that an order for alimony pendente lite or spousal support is necessary to prevent manifest injustice, a party who has been convicted of committing a personal injury crime against the other party shall not be entitled to spousal support or alimony pendente lite. Any amount paid by the injured party after the commission of the offense but before the conviction of the other party shall be recoverable by the injured party upon petition.
(Dec. 16, 1997, P.L.549, No.58, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Mar. 24, 1998, P.L.204, No.36, eff. imd.; Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.680, No.102, eff. 60 days)
1997 Amendment. Act 58 of 1997 was suspended by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1910.50(3), as amended May 31, 2000, insofar as it is inconsistent with Rule No. 1910.20 relating to the availability of remedies for collection of past due and overdue support.
Cross References. Section 3702 is referred to in section 3703 of this title.
§ 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.
Cross References. Section 3703 is referred to in section 3701 of this title; sections 8102, 8533.1 of Title 24 (Education); sections 5102, 5953.1 of Title 71 (State Government).
§ 3704. Payment of support, alimony and alimony pendente lite.
When so ordered by the court, all payments of child and spousal support, alimony or alimony pendente 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.
§ 3705. Enforcement of foreign decrees.
(a) General rule.--Whenever a person subject to a valid decree of a sister state or territory for the distribution of marital property or for the payment of alimony, temporary alimony or alimony pendente lite, or the property of that person is found within this Commonwealth, the obligee of the decree may petition the court where the obligor or the property of the obligor is found to register, adopt as its own and enforce the decree as a properly issued and authenticated decree of a sister state or territory. Upon registration and adoption, such relief and process for enforcement as is provided or prescribed by law in similar cases originally commenced in this Commonwealth shall be available. A copy of the decree and order shall be forwarded to the court of the state or territory which issued the original decree. The obligor shall have whatever defenses and relief are available to the obligor in the state or territory which issued the original decree and may question the jurisdiction of that court if not otherwise barred. Interest may be awarded on unpaid installments and security may be required to insure future payments as in cases originally commenced in this Commonwealth. Where property of the obligor, but not the person of the obligor, is found within this Commonwealth, there shall be jurisdiction quasi in rem, and, upon registration and adoption of the decree of the sister state or territory, relief and enforcement of the decree shall be available as in other proceedings which are quasi in rem.
(b) Optional procedure.--The right of a judgment creditor to proceed under 42 Pa.C.S. § 4306 (relating to enforcement of foreign judgments) or otherwise instead of proceeding under this section remains unimpaired.
§ 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.
§ 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.