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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family Law > What is Alimony Pendente Lite?

What is Alimony Pendente Lite?


An essential component of the Pennsylvania divorce process, Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is designed to provide financial stability and fairness while legal proceedings are underway.

This aspect of divorce is unique to the keystone state.

To learn more about what APL is, if you are eligible, and what divorcing couples need to know about this arrangement, share the specifics of your situation with a Bucks County family attorney.

Who Qualifies for APL?

A type of financial support awarded to a spouse as a separation and divorce move forward, APL is named after the term pendente lite, which is Latin for pending litigation. This means APL support is temporary, and only lasts until the divorce is finalized.

The primary purpose of APL is to ensure that both parties are able to maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage as they navigate the divorce process. The funds ensure that a financially dependent spouse can afford legal representation and their daily expenses until the divorce is finalized and they have a clearer picture of their finances for the coming months and years.

Naturally, APL is not automatically granted. In order to access this support a financially dependent spouse must request it. A court considers several factors when determining eligibility.

  • Spousal incomes and earning capacities. The court examines both actual income and potential earning capacity, taking into account education, skills, and work history.
  • Length of the union. Longer marriages might see higher APL awards due to a greater degree of financial interdependence.
  • Standard of living. The goal is to maintain as close to the same standard of living as possible for both parties.
  • Other financial liabilities. The court reviews each spouse’s financial obligations, including debts and necessary expenses.

While APL is similar to spousal support and post-divorce alimony, it is different in that it is specifically for the period during the divorce process. Post-divorce alimony is awarded after the divorce is finalized, the purpose of APL is to provide financial stability during the divorce while post-divorce alimony addresses longer-term financial needs.

How Long Can I Receive Support?

The amount and duration of APL payments are determined by a court. There’s no set formula, but guidelines and precedents are used in order to make fair decisions. To receive APL, the requesting spouse must file a petition with the court. Engaging the services of  a Bucks County family attorney is beneficial if you are hoping to present a strong case for APL.

There are other professionals who may be able to give you advice through the divorce process as well. For example, APL payments were once considered taxable income for the recipient and tax-deductible for the payer, but tax laws have changed in recent years. While divorce is emotional, it’s important to understand the financial impacts and talk to financial consultants and tax professionals as needed.

Is APL a possibility for you? Consulting with the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand is a path to accessing valuable guidance and support. Call 215-968-6602 for a confidential consultation.

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