Alimony and APL

Alimony in Pennsylvania is the periodic payment of support money for maintenance of a former spouse. Alimony is available if necessary to ensure the ability of the economically weaker party to support him or herself.

In Pennsylvania, there is a variation of alimony which the court calls, alimony pendente lite. Alimony pendente lite (commonly APL) is alimony given during the pending litigation. APL is meant to be used for immediate support.

Below is an abbreviated and summarized version of part of what the Pennsylvania Pa.R.C.P. and/or Pa.C.S.A. provides.

(Please note that this content may not be continuously updated, and thus may not contain the most recent updates and/or revisions of the Pennsylvania laws and supplemental information. This information is provided for overview and information purposes, and is not meant to be legal advice. It is always best to consult with an experienced family law attorney, who utilizes much more than the following information, including caselaw, statutory law, and other resources to provide legal advice.):

§ 3701. Alimony.

(a) General rule.-Where a divorce decree has been entered, the court may allow alimony, as it deems reasonable, to either party only if it finds that alimony is necessary.

(b) Factors relevant.-In determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all 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.

(c) Duration.-The court in ordering alimony shall determine the duration of the order, which may be for a definite or an indefinite period of time which is reasonable under the circumstances.

(d) Statement of reasons.-In an order made under this section, the court shall set forth the reason for its denial or award of alimony and the amount thereof.

(e) Modification and termination.-An order entered pursuant to this section is subject to further order of the court upon changed circumstances of either party of a substantial and continuing nature whereupon the order may be modified, suspended, terminated or reinstituted or a new order made. Any further order shall apply only to payments accruing subsequent to the petition for the requested relief. Remarriage of the party receiving alimony shall terminate the award of alimony.

(f) Status of agreement to pay alimony.-Whenever the court approves an agreement for the payment of alimony voluntarily entered into between the parties, the agreement shall constitute the order of the court and may be enforced as provided (omitted).

§ 3702. Alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expenses.

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.

For more information on spousal support, alimony or alimony pendente lite, please contact Pittsburgh Spousal Support Lawyer Bethany L. Notaro, Esquire.