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Because Pennsylvania has an equal rights amendment, alimony is not exclusive to wives anymore (especially since same-sex marriages are recognized now), but it is never something that happens automatically as part of ANY divorce.

The simple answer is that in an uncontested divorce, the payment of alimony to one ex-spouse by the other – obviously after the divorce is final – must be agreed upon in writing as part of the divorce documents before the divorce is final. If one spouse wants alimony and the other refuses to pay (or to pay enough), the divorce is no longer uncontested, nor is it simple or low cost. Lawyer fees and court costs will skyrocket into many thousands of dollars with no guarantee of alimony being ordered at all by the court or ordered in the requested amount.

Alimony in Pennsylvania is for economic rehabilitation, not to punish the spouse being asked to pay it. Things like differences in actual earnings and potential earnings and the economic need among other things must be considered. Quite often, one spouse may refuse to cooperate in a low cost, uncontested divorce unless alimony is agreed upon. It’s the old story of one giving up something to get something. In one case of mine, the husband agreed, so he could get divorced and marry someone else, to pay several hundred dollars monthly in alimony – forever! As time went on, paying that alimony so he could re-marry became increasingly less appealing…but he had stuck himself with it (and did so behind my back without consulting me before signing on the dotted line).

The main “take away” here is that alimony is never automatic, and may or may not be worth fighting for. I can help you make at least that decision, toll-free, 1-800-486-4070.