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PA divorce law, can my mother in law seeking spousal support if husband of 48 year seeks divorce

Coraopolis, PA |

my father in law recently made it known that he's thinking of walking out of his marrage after 48 years. the issue is with my mother in law who has never worked a day in her life, my father in law is retired and has allot of assets and investments. thing is no one knows how much or where they are since he has had total financial control over their money there whole life. My mother doesnt know what to do at this point, because my father in law may toss her out like the trash and she is not mentally equiped to handle this. Its my belief that my mother in law has been mentally abused her whole life my my father in law. To meet him one would understand why i think this. Nothing has been filed, but the statement was made by my father in law to my wife (his daughter) that "once my melanoma on my ear is taken care of i'm going to leave your mother cause i am sick of her." Thsi has everyone worried as to what to do and how my mother in law could prepare to protect herself in case he does do something like this. She has no assets of money in her name that we know of, she did but he took it all and did something with it recently. she is 67 and he is 72 years of age. what should she do to repare herslef in this case.

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Attorney answers 2


Thanks for using Avvo. I am an Avvo Staff Moderator. To read more about our moderation team, follow the link below. Our current question volume may increase the response times of our loyal Avvo lawyer-answerers. My goal is to give you some preliminary information and guidance regarding your legal situation while you wait for an attorney in your area to respond.

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.