Even though neither party’s “faults” are in the paperwork of a NO-fault divorce, it is usually the case that one spouse has had enough of the other’s bad behavior, no matter what it may have been, such as adultery, physical abuse, desertion or any other behavior that causes the other party to want to end the marriage.
When it’s time to divide up the assets of the marriage, it is only natural for the more heavily offended spouse to think that he or she ought to get more than the “bad” spouse. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania has “equitable” or economically fair, division of the marital assets with the court being more generous to the party who needs a larger share to have as close as possible to an equal chance of surviving, economically, after the marriage.
Bad behavior, however, can influence the amount and/or duration of alimony to be paid to the spouse with less economic “health”. To discuss this, I have to talk about A and B, not about Husband and Wife because of our Equal Rights Amendment. Before the amendment, an ex-wife would simply not have to pay her ex-husband alimony under any circumstance.
So, let’s say A was proven to have had a longstanding adulterous relationship, even spending days or weeks at a time with someone other than B. It defeats basic fairness to say that A should receive alimony; but, circumstances may indicate that B should pay A some alimony for some period, perhaps just not as much as would have been the case had A not been guilty of serious marital misconduct (and that misconduct could well be other than adultery, of course). The “numbers”, such as an excessively out-of-balance economic future of the respective parties will always play a part.
The discussion mentioned above requires “the court” decide whether alimony must be paid. A divorce only gets to that point in expensive, contested cases. In a low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce, the parties may agree to alimony, but they cannot fight over it in court.
Whether A will get alimony – or anything else – in a low-cost divorce may depend on who wants the divorce more, A or B, when it is time to settle up. Often B might say that B will agree to the divorce, but only if A, who wants the divorce more than B, will ask B for little or nothing at all. This is life. When one wants something, one must generally give something in return. Accordingly, alimony or payment of a lump sum settlement from B to A (or vice versa), is very infrequent in low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorces.
If you have things to settle I can help you. I urge you to call me, Monday through Friday, noon to 3 PM, toll-free at 1-800-486-4070, BEFORE you begin your case, for an absolutely free consultation about your particular situation. Alternatively, you can read our free information guide which answers many questions you may have before your divorce.