Tag Archive for: alimomy

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties to the divorce agree on all of the main issues of the divorce. A couple may agree to property division, alimony and child support. However, the couple will still need to file a number of forms with the court, whether or not it is contested.

In addition, one party in the divorce must have been a Pennsylvania resident for six months prior to the beginning of the divorce. There must also be grounds for the divorce.

Two no-fault grounds exist in Pennsylvania. To obtain a divorce by mutual consent, both parties must agree the marriage is irretrievably broken and wait 90 days after the divorce action is served on the other side. The other no-fault divorce is a separation in which one party does not consent to the divorce and the parties have lived apart for a certain period of time. For divorces in which separation occurred prior to December of 2016, there is a two-year separation divorce, and for those who separated after December of 2016 there is a one-year separation divorce. Less common is a divorce on fault grounds, which include desertion, adultery, endangerment, “cruel and barbarous treatment,” one spouse’s imprisonment for at least two years or for “indignities.”

For a consensual no-fault divorce, the couple must agree to a Property Settlement Agreement if there are assets or issues of alimony. This agreement will divide the marital property according to a mutually negotiated settlement and award or waive alimony. The agreement may also lay out custody and child support, or these can be left to separate agreements or to court. Custody and support in Pennsylvania are not necessary to resolve before a divorce is granted. If there are no assets and no issues of alimony, you will not need an agreement just the divorce.

If the couple cannot agree completely on all issues, the divorce may still be no-fault but the issues will need to be litigated. In a contested divorce a family court judge will decide all issues according to Pennsylvania state law. This includes dividing marital assets equitably (not necessarily equally) and ordering child custody according to the best interests of the child as well as child support. In Pennsylvania these are all heard separately.

An uncontested divorce is often the result of mediation. In mediation, both parties to the divorce use a trained mediator to agree to the basic terms of divorce. Each party is still represented by an attorney, but the issues are all decided out of court. Mediation can provide the divorcing couple with a less acrimonious process, one that is managed privately.

Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, each party should be represented by an attorney. A divorce lawyer can protect your rights and interests in divorce and ensure that your transition to post-divorce life goes as smoothly as possible.

Both cohabitation and remarriage are grounds for termination of alimony in Pennsylvania. In the case of remarriage, a court-ordered alimony award is terminated automatically upon the receiving spouse’s remarriage. However, if the couple settled outside of court, the divorce settlement must include a statement terminating alimony upon remarriage in order for it to end. Most divorce agreements in PA do include such a provision.

Cohabitation will also terminate court-ordered alimony, but it must be proven. Cohabitation in PA is recognized when a person is living with someone of the opposite sex who is not a close relative, demonstrates evidence of romantic or sexual relationship, and comingles assets or finances, thus approximating marriage.

If you believe your ex-spouse to whom you pay alimony is cohabiting and therefore believe your alimony should be terminated, you need to petition the court for an order to terminate alimony. File a motion in the court that handed down your divorce decree and be prepared to present evidence and witnesses in court to support your claim.

In order to gather evidence, look for pictures on social media or talk to friends or neighbors. You may have to hire a private detective who knows how to legally collect evidence of cohabitation – this may include surveillance, collection of documentation, and getting subpoenas to collect records. Our article Proving your Spouse is Cohabiting goes into more detail on this.

When you suspect your ex is living with someone and doesn’t deserve alimony anymore, it’s important to do a cost-benefit analysis. Consider the court and legal fees, the cost of hiring a private investigator, the time and effort associated with collection and court appearances, and the possible damage to relationships with friends and family. If your monthly alimony payment is not very large or burdensome and is awarded for a limited time, you know exactly how much alimony will cost you and can easily compare. You may find it’s not worth the expense or effort. If, however, your alimony payments are large or have no termination date stipulated by the court, you may determine it is worth the effort.

Child support is not automatically affected by termination of alimony. However, if you feel the cohabiting arrangement is not in the best interests of your children, you may wish to petition the courts for modification of custody.


These are decisions best reviewed with an expert in divorce law. if you suspect your ex-spouse is cohabitating, contact us here at Ulmer Law so we can help you determine the best approach regarding alimony and child custody.