What are the effects of disability payments on alimony?
If alimony is to be paid after a Pennsylvania divorce is granted, either by an agreement made part of the divorce decree or if ordered by the Court, it may result in a reduction in the amount of disability payments being made to the party receiving the alimony. This is because disability payments are based on one’s financial needs and alimony payments could be viewed as reducing that need. Accordingly, care must be taken to “do the math” to optimize the amount of alimony as it affects the amount of the disability payments.
If one is receiving disability payments and a divorce is filed and alimony is sought, one must be careful regarding the amount of alimony. Disability payments are based upon one’s financial needs and if one receives alimony, the alimony payments may be viewed as reducing those needs and a reduction in the amount of the disability payments may follow.
Obviously, in certain circumstances wherein the amount of alimony is so generous that one would no longer need the disability payments, then the effect of the alimony would never be felt because the disability payments would not be missed. In such cases, the party paying the alimony would have to have a fairly high income. Alimony must either be agreed to in writing as part of the divorce decree, frequently using a professionally prepared agreement, or ordered to be paid by the Court in an expensive, contested divorce. A promise to pay alimony which is not made an official part of the divorce is likely to be found unenforceable should it not be paid or stopped being paid.