Do I have to pay alimony out of my unemployement or workers compensation payments?
If your source of income is limited to unemployment or workers comp payments, alimony could still be ordered by the Court but likely in an amount not worth paying a lawyer to attempt to secure. When you are back to work, you may then be ordered to pay alimony in a fair amount. Do not assume that if you lose your job or are injured at work you may simply stop paying Court-ordered alimony without informing the Court and seeking some adjustment.
Alimony has been part of Pennsylvania’s divorce law since 1980 when no-fault divorce came into effect. Numerous items are considered by the Court in determining the amount and duration of alimony and those specifics are discussed here on my site. In this post, we will discuss whether or not a party whose income is reduced to unemployment or workers compensation payments could be ordered by the Court to pay or continue to pay alimony.
The dollar amount of unemployment checks is usually limited to just several hundred dollars each week, give or take a couple hundred, depending upon how much one was earning and they do not last forever. Worker’s compensation payments may be twice that, once again depending upon what one had been earning. Either way, you won’t get rich collecting either. In fact, just paying your bills could be a problem. Accordingly, while there could be a circumstance wherein the Court could order a portion of either to be paid as alimony, the recipient would likely have to have no income and no prospects for income and even then, the alimony check would likely not be worth paying a lawyer to fight for it.
Similarly, if alimony is ordered when the person paying it is working and is then laid off or injured on the job, it is unlikely that the Court would hold the payor to the original amount. The Court could reduce or stop alimony until the payor was back to work and then require a slightly higher alimony amount until the missed amount was caught up. In any event, a Court Order is nothing to mess with and if you are paying alimony in an ordered amount and you lose your job or are injured (and if you are injured, workers comp will not begin immediately), you must at once bring your change of circumstances to the Court’s attention to try to modify your alimony responsibility.