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In a low cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault Pennsylvania divorce, alimony can be agreed upon by the parties under any circumstances and paid in any amount and for any length of time. In fact, in that type of divorce, alimony would not be paid unless both parties agree to it. Once agreed to, it should be put into a professionally-prepared divorce settlement agreement for the protection of both parties.

The question is a more difficult one in a contested divorce, whether fault or no-fault. Without knowing all of the facts, on its face, it might seem that allowing one party to simply stay at home and “babysit” while requiring the other party to go out, earn a living and share it with someone who stays home is unfair. When this issue comes up, however, there is usually much more to it. For example, take a divorcing couple married fifteen years and during the first 6 years, one spouse went to and graduated from medical school and the other worked 60 hours a week and had several young children at home requiring that parent’s attention every night and all weekend long while the other attended classes and studied. Without the working spouse’s efforts, the other spouse could not have become a physician and have the high income a successful medical practice typically brings in. 

Now the doctor wants out of the marriage. The spouse whose extreme efforts created the doctor, in effect, now has several pre-teen kids and is simply too exhausted to continue that demanding blue collar job (so childcare could be paid for) and raise the kids on her own. There is a really good chance the Judge would find it appropriate for that parent to stay home, raise the children and collect alimony for herself and child support for the kids so they could have a reasonably normal family life. Certainly as the children, one by one, got older, they could require somewhat less care and the stay-at-home parent could require less financial support from the ex-spouse doctor.

That is just one scenario wherein alimony for a stay-at-home parent is fully justified. You can probably imagine others.