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Under Pennsylvania law, alimony is authorized in limited situations and is not the broad remedy that it is in other states. In Pennsylvania alimony is either "rehabilitative" or "permanent".
"Rehabilitative alimony" is intended to be a short-term measure which enables a spouse to get back on his or her feet. Alimony is awarded to enable the other spouse to go back to school or to acquire needed skills that would enable the spouse to be competitive in the job market. Usually a spouse who has chosen the role of becoming a homemaker and raising children has not been able to develop the skills necessary for productive and gainful employment.
"Permanent alimony" continues for a long period of time, possibly until the death of the party receiving the alimony and is usually awarded when one of the parties is unable to work due to age physical or mental illness.
Without additional information on your mother-in-law's situation it is difficult to make a proper assessment. I strongly recommend that you contact a family law attorney in your area. Good luck.
It is not likely that he could throw your mother-in-law out of the house as it is most likely a marital home. If he leaves, she needs to go to Domestic Relations immediately and file for support. All of his assets and investments will be discoverable, as well as his income. It is probable that your mother-in-law will receive 40% of his net monthly income as support until they divorce and most likely she will then be entitled to alimony for a significant period of time.
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