Divorce can be a stressful experience, especially when it could result in a financial disparity between the parties involved. For example, a stay-at-home parent who has never worked outside the home would be in a far more precarious financial position than the family's sole breadwinner. Such circumstances are often present in high-asset divorces. Spousal support can help alleviate these types of economic imbalances that divorce can create.
Spousal support is a payment or series of payments made by one spouse, or former spouse, to the other. It can be temporary or ongoing. It may be paid in a lump sum or in recurring, regularly scheduled payments. Spousal support can be especially crucial during the period of transition when the parties are establishing separate households and dividing property.
After receiving input from the parties, a judge will make the ultimate determination about whether spousal support is appropriate and how much should be paid. To make the decision, the judge will take several factors into consideration. Examples of what a judge will consider include the earnings and earning potential of each party, how long the marriage lasted, standard of living, and the relative needs of the parties.
In Pennsylvania, a judge's decision regarding spousal support does not have to be set in stone. If circumstances change, for better or worse, a party can move for a post-divorce modification of the spousal support order. When a spouse is faced with divorce, the assistance of an experienced attorney can help navigate the often-complicated waters of family law. An attorney can help evaluate the case, determine whether a request for spousal support makes sense, and find a path toward the best possible outcome.