Pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. Section 3701, the Court may award alimony, “as it deems reasonable,” if it finds that alimony is necessary. The Court looks at 17 factors to assist it in making the determination if alimony is necessary; and, if so, the nature, amount, duration, and manner of the payment of alimony. The factors are:
(1) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
(2) The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
(3) The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
(4) The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
(5) The duration of the marriage.
(6) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
(7) The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
(8) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
(9) The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
(10) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
(11) The property brought to the marriage by either party.
(12) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
(13) The relative needs of the parties.
(14) The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
(15) The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
(16) Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
(17) Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
As you can see, one of the 17 factors is the marital misconduct of the parties during the marriage (not after the parties’ separated). Marital misconduct includes having an affair. Oftentimes clients are surprised (and disappointed) to find out that in practice, the marital misconduct of a party plays only a small role in the determination regarding alimony. Usually what is of more importance to the Court is the financial status of both parties, the health of the parties, who has custody of the children, and if alimony needed to support the other party’s reasonable needs.