When parties divorce in Pennsylvania, a judge is able to rule that one party pays the other party alimony. Alimony is a payment from one former spouse to the other after the divorce is finalized. It can be for a set period of time or it could be for an indefinite amount of time.
The trouble is that it is hard to know exactly what you might receive in alimony in Pennsylvania because there is no formula to calculate the amount of support or the time period for which a spouse will pay/receive the support. In fact, it might be difficult to determine at the outset of the case whether or not a spouse would be entitled to receive alimony at all. Different judges could look at very similar fact patterns and have wildly different opinions as to the necessity to pay/receive alimony, the amount of the award for alimony, and the duration of alimony.
To avoid these uncertainties, parties are more and more choosing alternative dispute resolutions techniques, like the collaborative process or mediation to resolve their income sharing concerns. This would allow parties to make an income sharing determination that addresses the particular needs of their family.