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Pennsylvania Spousal Support and Alimony

Spousal Support

Spousal support is financial assistance awarded to a dependant spouse during the pendency of a divorce proceeding. There are two types of support that can be awarded to a dependent spouse pre-divorce they are called

  • spousal support - this is support awarded when the parties are living separately, awarded to assist the spouse earning the lower income. There are unique defenses to spousal support.
  • alimony pendent lite - this is support awarded to the dependent spouse to equalize the financial situation between the two parties, and to enable the dependent party to pursue the divorce and to pay attorney’s fees through the duration of the divorce.

The purpose of spousal support is to assure the dependant spouse a reasonable living allowance. The duty to provide such support arises out of the marital relationship. In determining how much to award, Pennsylvania Courts look to Guidelines that take into consideration income of the parties. Many factors go into determining what is income, not just is what is on a tax return. A Court also may take into consideration how long you and your spouse have lived together.


Alimony is a financial award - after divorce-- from one spouse to another to assure that the reasonable needs of the person who is unable to support him/herself through appropriate employment are met. In Pennsylvania alimony is not determined by any rigid formula, nor is it punitive. In considering the nature, amount and duration of alimony courts consider a number of factors. Among those factors are:

What the dependent party received in equitable distribution
Age of the parties
Duration of the marriage
Reasonable needs in accordance with lifestyle and standard of living during the marriage
Payor's ability to pay
Relative earning capacity of the parties
Health of one of the parties

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