Payments made to the financially dependent spouse after the divorce are called alimony. Alimony is not automatically granted in every case. In some cases, the financially secure spouse will offer to pay alimony to help the other spouse finish an education or get an advanced degree, or to enable the custodial parent to remain at home with the minor children. In some cases the court will award alimony to the financially dependent spouse.
The spouse who wants to receive alimony must prove to the court their financial need for alimony. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court does not have guidelines for alimony. However, the Pennsylvania Divorce Code lists factors which the court must consider when determining whether a party needs alimony. Some of these factors are the length of the marriage, the parties’ earnings and earning capacities, the parties’ ages and health, whether they are the caretaker for the couple’s minor children and whether they have other assets available for their support.