Alimony Pendente Lite (APL)

After a divorce complaint is filed, a spouse may seek alimony pendente lite (“APL”), which is Latin for alimony pending litigation. Spousal support will usually be converted into alimony pendente lite (APL) automatically. A claim for APL can be made to equalize the parties income disparities and to provide both spouses with the ability to proceed through the divorce litigation on a more financially equal footing. The spouse who is obligated to pay APL is unable to assert a legal entitlement defense but may still assert an economic entitlement defense. This means that even if the spouse seeking APL left the marriage without just cause or committed adultery, he or she may be entitled to receive alimony pendente lite.

Alimony

Alimony is a remedy that may be available to a spouse upon the entry of a divorce decree and in connection with a determination of equitable distribution. The Divorce Code in Pennsylvania states that alimony may be granted if a spouse cannot meet their “reasonable needs” after looking at their income and the assets they are awarded during equitable distribution. In other words, alimony is a secondary remedy to equitable distribution. The Divorce Code provides that in determining whether alimony (as opposed to APL) is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider 17 relevant factors, including:

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.