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What Is Alimony Pendente Lite?

By Sheryl Rentz on September 9, 2016

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in 2015 the courts terminated approximately 33,600 marriages in Pennsylvania. These civil cases are processed through the county courts, more specifically, by a division referred to as domestic or family relations. The actual length of time for the divorce process to be finalized through the court can vary according to a number of factors, such as; how efficiently the court moves through the caseload, or the number of hearings involved in the case. During the time that the case is pending, the court is able to issue some temporary order(s) to ensure that the parties involved are all able to afford their basic necessities.

One common order that the court can award during the interim period of a divorce process is Alimony Pendente Lite (APL). The term originates from Latin, which translates to mean “amid or pending the litigation”. APL is an order put in place by the court when a dependent spouse is seeking financial support involving a divorce. Basically, a dependent spouse is an individual who is determined to presently have insufficient income to fund the cost of their basic necessities. Some of the costs that APL can be allocated to provide for include housing, clothing, food, child care expenses and medical costs.  In order for the court to accurately assess and determine the terms of an APL order, they will gather and analyze the financial profile of the couple, which would include their individual incomes and relative expenses. Some of the considerations that factor into the equation can include:

  • Whether either party has current responsibility to provide for dependent children.
  • Any existing court orders of support that a party may have, such as an obligation resulting from a previous marriage.
  • Possible limitations that a party may have in generating income through employment such as medical problems, or a lack of skills, training or education needed to secure necessary income.

In determining such orders for support, one key consideration takes into account what the approximate level, or standard of living the couple experienced during the course of the marriage. This is important for these purposes, as the dependent spouse is entitled to support in an amount to allow for them to maintain roughly this equivalent standard, as long as the supporting spouse’s income is sufficient to provide it.

Is your marriage transitioning toward a separation or divorce? Many of the actions and decisions during the divorce process may have lasting effects that extend well beyond the end of the marriage. Your marriage is composed of factors and situations which make it unique; therefore, it is important to have your interests protected by an expert in the practice of family law. PA alimony attorneys at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. has been protecting client’s rights here in Pennsylvania for over 25 years. Contact the office today at (610) 645-0100 for a consultation to begin reviewing your case.

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