The terms alimony, spousal support and maintenance are all common phrases many people may associate with financial support provided to one spouse during or after a divorce. However, in the state of Pennsylvania, each are different and awarded at different times.
Such an award, however, is not always guaranteed. There are factors that play a part in determining whether monetary support should be awarded, how much and when.
Alimony in Pennsylvania
In general, the term alimony in Pennsylvania is a stipend a court awards to one spouse after a divorce. The ultimate goal is to equalize the financial resources of both parties upon separation.
The award can be temporary or permanent and depends on a variety of factors such as the length of the marriage, the age of each party and their mental and physical health.
Marital misconduct, such as adultery, is also a factor courts will consider when deciding when and how much alimony to award. The paying party can assert what’s known as an “entitlement defense” in an attempt to prohibit the other party from receiving support. However, such a defense will be considered in light of other factors noted above.
Along with adultery, abuse, abandonment or malicious desertion and “other such indignities” can also be reasons a court may consider denying an alimony award in Pennsylvania.