Alimony Pendente Lite, or APL, is spousal support while the divorce is pending. A party may petition for APL at the same time as the divorce complaint or any time thereafter prior to the entry of a final decree. The purpose of APL is to ensure each party has the ability to sustain themselves during the divorce. A party seeking APL should be ready to prove they lack sufficient property to provide for their reasonable means and are financially unable to support themself during the pendency of the divorce litigation. It is the income-dependent spouse who would have the opportunity to receive APL.
Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.) 1910.16-1(c) addresses awards for spousal support and/or APL and requires the court to also consider the duration of the marriage in making any award. This is to ensure one party does not benefit from a significant support award in the context of a very short marriage. Additionally, it provides that an award for spousal support and an award for APL cannot be in effect at the same time.
Pa. R.C.P. 1910.1-4 lays out the calculation to be used in determining an award. In a case with children, the APL award will be based on a 30% difference of the parties’ net incomes and will account for the child support obligations of the case when factoring the net incomes. In a case without children, the APL award will be based on a 40% difference of the parties’ net incomes. An award of APL is not appealable until after the divorce is final. The reason for that being that APL is not considered a “final order” as is required before an appeal can be taken.