Alimony is support paid to an ex-spouse following the divorce decree. Unless otherwise stated by agreement, alimony may be subsequently modified due the changed circumstances of either party. The changes must be substantial and of a continuing nature. For example, if a party loses their employment or becomes disabled modification could be sought. An alimony provision within an agreement between the parties may not be modified in the absence of a specific provision allowing such a modification within the agreement.
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Generally, the length is directly attributable to the length of the marriage. For example, a party may expect approximately 1 year of alimony for every 3 years married. For marriages of over 25 years, an indefinite term of alimony may be appropriate. However, the trend is to now consider the retirement ages of the parties when determining the appropriate duration of an alimony award. If the parties include alimony as a part of their own settlement agreement, they are free to set the amount and length as they so agree. The amount of alimony is largely based on the incomes of the parties but may also be affected by the distribution of the other assets, if any. In total, there are fourteen factors for a court to consider in awarding and/or modifying an alimony award. These factors can found at 23 Pa. C.S. Section 3701.