Appeal from the Order of August 19, 1985, in the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Family, at No. F.D. 81-03612.
Ray F. Middleman, Pittsburgh, for appellant (at 1147) and appellee (at 1179).
Maurice A. Nernberg, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant (at 1179) and appellee (at 1147).
Del Sole, Montemuro and Popovich, JJ.
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The cross-appeal presented herein followed a trial court order which determined the equitable distribution of the parties marital property and structured an award of temporary alimony and partial counsel fees to Lydia S. Thomson, (Appellant at No. 01147 PGH 85). The Appellant at No. 01179 PGH 85 is Michael R. Thomson. For purposes of this appeal the parties shall be referred as to "wife" and "husband", respectively.
The order at issue followed extensive hearings before a court appointed master, who submitted to the court a 46 page report including recommendations. The trial court by means of its Order dated August 19, 1985, accepted each of the Master's recommendations; however, it refused to make the $1,200.00 per month alimony award permanent and, instead, limited its duration to December, 1985.
In her appeal, wife maintains the court erred when it refused to adopt the Master's recommendation as to the duration of her monthly alimony award. She asserts, that based upon her age, her reasonable needs and the disparity in the income earnings and earning capacities of the parties, she is entitled to permanent alimony.
This court, when reviewing the equitable distribution of marital property and an award of permanent alimony, must utilize an abuse of discretion standard; absent an abuse of discretion by the trial court we will not disturb the award. Ruth v. Ruth, 316 Pa. Super. 282, 462 A.2d 1351 (1983).
Alimony has been defined as a form of support which continues after divorce and insures that reasonable needs of the person who is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment, are met. McNulty v. McNulty, 347 Pa. Super. 363, 500 A.2d 876 (1985). The legislature has provided for alimony in the Divorce Code at 23 P.S. § 501. Therein:
Subsection (a) directs that alimony shall be awarded only if the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable
[ 359 Pa. Super. Page 543]
to support himself or herself through appropriate employment. Subsection (b) directs that if upon consideration of the fourteen enumerated factors (in addition to any other relevant factors) the court finds it necessary, alimony shall be awarded.
Geyer v. Geyer, 310 Pa. Super. 456, 462, 456 A.2d 1025, 1028 (1983).
Section 501(c) provides in pertinent part:
(U)nless the ability of the party seeking the alimony to provide for his or her reasonable needs through employment is substantially diminished by reason of age, physical, mental or emotional condition . . . or other compelling impediment to gainful employment the court . . . shall limit the duration of the order to a period of time which is reasonable for the purpose of allowing the party seeking alimony to meet his or her reasonable needs by:
(1) obtaining appropriate employment; or
(2) developing an appropriate ...