Divorce proceedings can place a spouse at a serious financial disadvantage. Pennsylvania divorce law provides several realistic options for spouses who find themselves in this predicament.
In Philadelphia, spouses with a lower income have the right and ability to obtain financial support from the spouse who earns higher both during separation and during the course of divorce litigation. This type of support is referred as either spousal support or Alimony Pendente Lite. The purpose of Alimony Pendente Lite is to ascertain that both spouses are financially capable to retain legal counsel and pursue a divorce action. Thus, you may be able to receive support so you can hire your own divorce lawyer if you have limited financial resources
The amount of Alimony Pendente Lite that should be given by the financially superior spouse is based on a percentage of the difference in after-tax income between the two spouses together with other factors such as other support obligations of the higher-earning spouse. Alimony Pendente Lite may be given even if both spouses remain living in the same house during the separation. In addition, you may still seek and receive Alimony Pendente Lite even if you have committed a misconduct concerning your marriage such as adultery.
However, the duration of Alimony Pendente Lite is limited. You may only obtain this type of support until equitable distribution has been concluded and a divorce decree has been issued. As a result, individuals receiving Alimony Pendente Lite attempt to prolong the divorce so as to continue getting support payments whereas the paying spouse may want to finalize the divorce as fast as possible in order to stop making payments.
On the other hand, you may be granted further support even if the marriage has legally ended. Alimony is the support awarded to a spouse after the marriage has ended. Alimony is typically awarded in instances where there is a big disparity in the incomes of the parties, or if one spouse has physical or mental disabilities, if the marriage was long-term, or other several factors. The court will determine whether or not you can meet your reasonable needs according to the lifestyle you were accustomed to during your marriage.
There are different types of alimony. Often, rehabilitative alimony is awarded to a spouse in order to allow him or her to pursue further education or training to develop skills that will make the person self-sufficient. Permanent alimony is less common but it is awarded for the entire duration of a spouse’s lifetime. There is also a type of alimony that is awarded until a certain condition is met. For instance, a spouse can receive alimony until the marital home is sold and he or she receives an equitable percentage of net profit. There are instances when reimbursement alimony is awarded wherein a spouse must financially reimburse the other spouse for a certain amount of money. This often occurs when a spouse financed the education of the other spouse.
With the exception of reimbursement alimony, alimony is generally terminated when the spouse receiving alimony starts living with a new romantic partner, remarries or passes away.