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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 11, 2020 03:02 PM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay
To: All House members
Subject: Spousal Abuse Alimony Ban
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending Pennsylvania’s alimony statute to prevent a spouse who has committed a personal injury crime against the other spouse from collecting alimony. As you may recall, the General Assembly recently enacted a bar to alimony pendente lite and spousal support when a spouse committed a personal injury crime against another spouse. My legislation simply follows this model.

Under Pennsylvania law, there are three types of payments to spouses who have filed for divorce. Spousal support arises out of the duty to support the other spouse. This type of support ends when the divorce decree is entered. Alimony pendente lite is awarded during the pendency of the divorce. It is meant to put the parties on an equal financial footing to bring an action for divorce. Like spousal support, alimony pendente lite ends when the divorce decree is entered. In contrast, alimony is awarded after the decree of divorce has been entered. Further, alimony is awarded if it is “necessary.” The court will weigh a number of factors to determine if alimony is necessary in a certain case.

Currently, the Domestic Relations Code defines the term “personal injury crime.” Examples of personal injury crimes are homicide, kidnapping, aggravated assault, robbery, and human trafficking, among others.

Since the Domestic Relations Code prevents the awarding of spousal support and alimony pendente lite when a spouse commits a personal injury crime against the other spouse, it only makes sense that we extend that rule to alimony.

Please consider co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB282