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Alimony and Adultery Historically Linked

122499577In Pennsylvania, a spouse guilty of marital misconduct such as adultery cannot obtain alimony, except in rare cases of extreme hardship.

There has long been a link between alimony and adultery. Historically, husbands were only forced to pay alimony to their wives if they committed adultery.

“It was almost a form of damages: the financial penalty the law imposed upon husbands as a result of their wrongful conduct in breaching the permanency clause of the marriage contract,” writes attorney Laura W. Morgan in an article entitled “Current Trends In Alimony Law” published by the American Bar Association.

“The amount of the remedy – the amount needed to attain the marital standard of living – was roughly equivalent to the financial harm inflicted on the wife by the husband’s wrongful conduct, another rule strongly reminiscent of contract or even tort law,” Morgan writes.

Today, Pennsylvania courts may award alimony even when there are no allegations of adultery. Pennsylvania embraces no-fault divorce, allowing courts to grant a divorce in the absence of fault where a court found that the marriage was irretrievably broken.

To speak with a Pittsburgh family law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.