The term alimony pendente lite translates as alimony pending the litigation and refers to support to which a party may be entitled during the pendency of the divorce action.

Clients are sometimes familiar with the phrase APL, a quick shorthand for alimony pendente lite. In Pennsylvania, an award of APL, when granted, typically lasts until the divorce decree has been entered and the division of property has been determined.

The right to spousal support arises out of the marriage relationship and does not require that a divorce action be filed. If a husband and wife are living separately, the economically-dependent spouse may have a right to receive spousal support. Generally speaking, a party cannot be awarded spousal support if the parties live in the same residence.

Support payable to a spouse after divorce is alimony. An award of alimony is within the discretion of the court unless the parties have reached an agreement on this issue in their property settlement agreement. Many factors go into the decision to grant alimony and the determination of the amount of the alimony award. An award of alimony is not automatic no matter how long the parties have been married. Some of the factors that go into the decision-making process about alimony include the incomes of both parties, the assets that have been distributed, the ages of the parties and the length of the marriage. The treatment of alimony in the different county courts is not necessarily uniform and Ms. Cherner and Ms. Czekaj can advise you in this area based on their years of experience in Delaware County, Philadelphia County and Chester County.