Your spouse may have earned most or all your household’s income during your marriage. If you depended on their support for your lifestyle or survival, you will likely worry about meeting your expenses after you two divorce. Furthermore, since divorcees in Pennsylvania are not entitled to alimony, you may fear that a court will refuse to make an award. Yet, if you demonstrate the need for alimony, you may receive it.
Understanding Pennsylvania’s alimony laws
Pennsylvania courts award alimony at their discretion, and often only if you depend on your spouse’s support to meet your needs. Any award you receive will likely be based on the presumption that you will become self-sufficient in the future. It is rare for courts to award indefinite alimony to a dependent spouse, unless issues of age, ability or employment prospects demand it.
When weighing whether to award you alimony, factors the court will consider include:
- Your marriage’s duration
- The standard of living you and your spouse established during your marriage
- Whether you have the property to support yourself
- Whether you have the capability to find and retain gainful employment
- Whether you need further training or education to be able to support yourself
- You and your spouse’s current earnings and earning abilities
- The property you and your spouse brought to your marriage
- Whether you or your spouse committed marital misconduct
Types of alimony in Pennsylvania
If you and your spouse have separated – and until your divorce finalizes – you may be eligible for temporary support in Pennsylvania. This support is known as alimony pendente lite, which will help you meet your living and divorce expenses if you cannot otherwise. Once your divorce finalizes, you may receive alimony, whether definite or indefinite.
Fighting for alimony may seem challenging, yet you will likely receive an award if you need help making ends meet. An attorney with family law experience can help you work to secure support that reflects your situation.