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Can you depend on property division and alimony after a divorce?

Running a household isn’t easy or cheap. You may have decided that the best way for you to contribute to your family’s standard of living and quality of life was to stay home from work. When one spouse puts their career on the backburner to support the family, everyone theoretically benefits from that arrangement.

Children receive more direct parental attention and can avoid the boredom and risks that come from daycare. The family avoids expenses associated with professional help for things like cleaning, cooking or yard maintenance. The spouse who continues to work focuses on their career because they know that household matters have their spouse’s undivided attention.

Unfortunately, those benefits come at the expense of the independence and earning potential of the spouse who stays home. If you believe that a divorce is in your future, will it be possible to rely on property division and spousal support or alimony to cover your costs?

The Pennsylvania family courts do recognize unpaid household contributions

During a divorce, the Pennsylvania courts apply the equitable distribution standard to the shared marital property of the spouses. Equitable distribution involves the courts finding a fair way to split up property.

They look at a variety of household and individual factors, including earning potential and unpaid contributions to the household, as well as the current earning potential for each spouse. It is possible that with proper planning, some of those assets will be sufficient to support you at least in the short term after you divorce. While it’s impossible to predict the outcome of the process, you can presume it will be fair and reasonable.

Can you count on receiving alimony?

Unlike child support, which is automatic and mandatory, alimony isn’t a given for every divorce. In some situations, the courts may decide that one spouse needs temporary or even long-term financial aid from the other to support themselves after the divorce.

Often, such support is meant only to last as long as it takes for someone to acquire the skills or experience necessary to command a living wage. Certain special factors, such as the custody of your children and your health, can impact how much you receive and how long you can receive it.

 

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