Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite

Prior to a final divorce decree, there are two types of support which one spouse can assert against the other; spousal support and alimony pendente lite (APL). A party can only receive spousal support or alimony pendente lite (APL), but cannot receive both.

Pennsylvania law states: “In proper cases, upon petition, the court may allow a spouse reasonable alimony pendente lite, spousal support and reasonable counsel fees and expenses. Reasonable counsel fees and expenses may be allowed pendente lite, and the court shall also have authority to direct that adequate health and hospitalization insurance coverage be maintained for the dependent spouse pendente lite.”

While spousal support and alimony pendente lite (APL) may appear to be similar by the nature of their calculations, there are significant differences between the two.

Spousal support provides for the support of a spouse if the parties live apart irrespective of whether there is a pending divorce complaint filed with the Court. Spousal support is raised by a petition and is subject to certain “entitlement defenses”.

On the other hand, alimony pendente lite (APL) must be plead within the divorce complaint, must also be raised by a petition, is not subject to “entitlement defenses” and is designed to put the parties on equal footing during the pendency of a divorce

With respect to the calculations of spousal support and alimony pendente lite (APL), they are generally income driven with the award being driven by the disparity of incomes between the parties. However, there are many issues to consider when prosecuting or defending either one of these claims. From an income perspective, for example, special attention needs to focus upon the earning capacity of a party, the length of the marriage and the ages of the minor children.

Without the benefit of competent counsel, one could be the subject of an incorrect calculation or an improper Order relating to spousal support or alimony pendente lite (APL).

With over two (2) decades of divorce litigation experience in prosecuting and defending divorce, custody and support cases in Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County and Bucks County Pennsylvania, McIntosh Lawyers, PC represents both plaintiffs and defendants in spousal support and alimony pendente lite (APL) claims, including complaints, modification petitions and/or enforcement.

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