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Alimony and Support

Alimony Pendente Lite

Alimony Pendente Lite or temporary alimony refers to monthly payments made by one spouse to the other spouse during the pendency of the divorce litigation.  Typically, the spouse earning less than the other spouse is the recipient of Alimony Pendente Lite.  Alimony Pendente Lite evolved from the concept that a husband should support his wife throughout the marriage and thereafter. The purpose of Alimony Pendente Lite today is to remain the status quo and permit the dependent spouse to have resources to support himself/herself during the course of the divorce litigation.  A divorce action generally has to be commenced before a party has a right to request and receive Alimony Pendente Lite. Alimony Pendente Lite terminates upon the entry of a divorce decree.

Alimony

Alimony is generally a court ordered obligation of a former spouse to provide support to the other former spouse after the marriage has ended and a divorce decree has been entered by the court. Alimony today is essentially need based and is not a penalty for marital misconduct. Alimony is discretionary and is awarded upon finding by the court that alimony is necessary to effectuate economic justice between the parties. There are many factors a court will consider in making a determination of whether alimony is necessary after the entry of a divorce decree some of which include the education, earning capacity, sources of income and assets and liabilities of the parties. The standard of living established during the marriage is also an important consideration in any alimony award.

 

Generally, adultery during the marriage will bar a spouse from receiving alimony after the entry of a divorce decree. Remarriage and co-habitation with another partner after the entry of a divorce decree may result in termination of alimony by law. Alimony can be amended or or modified upon application to the court. Alimony may be awarded for rehabilitative purposes to allow the dependent spouse with a lesser earning capacity time to obtain the skills, experience and employment to be able to support himself/herself.

 

Spousal support may also be available. Spousal support is generally defined as care, maintenance and financial assistance of one spouse by another spouse. Spousal support is distinct from Alimony Pendente Lite and may arise before a divorce complaint is filed because it arises from the marital relationship itself.  Spousal support is temporary in nature and terminates upon the entry of a divorce decree.

 

If you are interested in learning more about Alimony Pendente Lite, Alimony or Spousal Support, please contact our firm and discuss your circumstances with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

 

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How are Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite Calculated in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, a dependent spouse is entitled to support once the spouses have separated and during the pendency of the divorce action. The two types of support which can be received prior to divorce are called spousal support and alimony pendente lite (“APL”).  Although the amount due for the two types of support is calculated in exactly the same way, there is an important difference between them- spousal support is paid after the parties separate, but before a divorce is final, and may be ordered before a divorce action is even filed; APL is a temporary order for support which can only be made after the divorce action is filed.

 

A dependent spouse may receive either APL or spousal support, but cannot receive both at the same time. There is also a set term that the support lasts for- typically, this would be until a divorce decree is entered or a divorce agreement is reached. It is important to note that spousal support and APL are considered taxable income for the dependent spouse. On the other side, spousal support and APL payments can be deducted from the income of the payor for tax purposes.

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