Spousal support, also called alimony, can help bridge the gap in your finances when you divorce. If you raised children or supported your spouse’s career, you may worry about how you can establish and maintain an independent household.
Review the rules for alimony in Pennsylvania if you face divorce and have concerns about financial independence.
Support prior to divorce
You can apply for predivorce spousal support, which starts at your separation date and ends when you or your spouse files a divorce petition. At that point, the judge can transition your spousal support award to alimony pendente lite, which lasts until the divorce becomes final.
The state designates this type of support to cover expenses stemming from the divorce as well as other living expenses. When you request predivorce support, the court will review your finances and your spouse’s finances to determine that you are financially dependent on him or her.
Alimony after divorce
You can also ask for alimony that continues after the divorce becomes final. Typically, an alimony award lasts long enough so you can pursue the education or career training you need to become financially independent. Usually, the court awards permanent support only after a long marriage if you cannot become self-supporting because of age, health issues or an extended absence from the workforce.
When deciding whether to award post-divorce alimony, Pennsylvania courts consider both spouses’ financial situations, ability to earn a living in the future, standard of living during the marriage, how you each contributed to this living standard and several other factors.