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Stay-at-Home Parents Are Not Guaranteed Spousal Support

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Stay-at-Home Parents

Many parents choose stay-at-home parenting for financial reasons. For one, the high cost of childcare can make it impractical for both parents to work. Other parents stay home because they believe it is the best choice for their family. If you are a stay-at-home parent and are divorcing your spouse, you may be concerned about earning income. It’s important to know that spousal support for stay-at-home parents is not guaranteed. Below are the facts about receiving alimony/spousal support in Pennsylvania.

Spousal Support for Stay-at-Home Parents

It can be difficult for a stay-at-home parent to return to the job market. Parents who spend time away from the workforce may find they need additional training or education before they can get a good job. In addition, you may worry about paying bills and supporting your family.

Pennsylvania courts award alimony when one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Stay-at-home parents often receive support on a temporary basis while they get the education or training needed to find employment and become self-supporting.  However, sometimes a stay-at-home parent will receive no alimony after divorce. If the court finds any of these facts to be true, a stay-at-home parent may receive no support:

  1. Being a stay-at-home parent has not affected the non-working spouse’s ability to earn enough income to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
  2. The lower-income spouse has non-marital assets or property that can act as financial support.
  3. The division of marital property will provide the stay-home parent with sufficient support to maintain the standard of living experienced during the marriage.
  4. The other spouse will have custody of the children and will provide for all their needs.
  5. The lower-income spouse has made no effort to become self-sufficient despite opportunity.
  6. The higher-income spouse is not financially able to provide spousal support.
  7. The lower-income spouse was abusive.

Determining Spousal Support

Pennsylvania courts determine spousal support amounts with an eye on the factors provided by the Legislature, including:

  • Length of marriage,
  • Prior living standard,
  • Presence of young children,
  • Employment opportunities available to the spouse requesting support, and
  • The extent to which the supported spouse has contributed to the attainment of education or a professional license by the other spouse.

If you would like help determining an estimate of the appropriate level of support, please contact our family law attorneys for a list of accurate figures based on state guidelines.

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