Spousal Support

Upon separation and prior to the filing of a divorce complaint, the Pennsylvania Divorce Code allows for spousal support payments to be made to a financially dependent spouse or a lower income-earning spouse. Spousal support is usually not available if the two parties continue to live under the same roof. However, spousal support may be available if the lower income earner/financially dependent spouse can prove that the other party is not adequately contributing to the household expenses. The spouse who has to pay support may be able to assert an entitlement defense to the payment of spousal support, if the spouse claiming the right to receive support has committed one of the fault-based grounds for divorce (legal entitlement) and/or has the ability to earn income or more income than he or she is currently earning which would eliminate his/her entitlement to receive support altogether or reduce the amount of support a dependent spouse would otherwise receive (economic entitlement). There is no defined length of time that spousal support must be paid. Spousal support may be ordered to be paid until the divorce decree is final and no longer appealable.