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 of self-support during the pendency of the divorce litigation. It is the income-dependent spouse who would have the opportunity to receive APL. The court may 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.
In a case with children, the APL award will be 30% of the difference of the parties’ net incomes after the child support obligations of the case have been applied. In a case without children, the APL award will be 40% of the 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. APL and spousal support are calculated the same way however, APL can be seen as preferable to spousal support in that there are no defenses to APL whereas for spousal support any conduct that would constitute fault for a divorce matter can result in an inability to receive spousal support. Spousal support can be filed as soon as parties are separated and is not contingent on a divorce action pending.