Spousal support and Alimony Pendente Lite are both temporary support payments made during the separation period of spouses, before a divorce has been finalized.

Alimony is payment from one ex-spouse to the other for support. It only occurs after the divorce has been finalized. A court can order alimony to either spouse. There are no guidelines used to determine alimony. The Pennsylvania Legislature has published a list of 17 subjective criteria that the courts must consider at 23 Pa. C.S. 3701(b).

The payment is taxable to the recipient and a deduction for the payor.

Alimony can be modified so that payments are reduced, increased or terminated, depending on the situation of the respective parties upon a showing of a “change in circumstances.”

If you need an attorney with knowledge and experience dealing with Alimony, contact us today for your free consultation.

17 subjective criteria for Alimony

23 Pa. C.S. 3701(b)

Factors relevant.–In determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

  1. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
  2. The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
  3. The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  4. The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
  5. The duration of the marriage.
  6. The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
  8. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
  9. The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either party.
  12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
  13. The relative needs of the parties.
  14. The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
  15. The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
  16. Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party's reasonable needs.
  17. Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.

Alimony Pendente Lite (APL)

Alimony Pendente Lite is a court ordered support payment after a divorce has been commenced.

There is virtually no defense to a claim for alimony pendente lite. A party otherwise not entitled to spousal support may be entitled to alimony pendente lite once the divorce action is filed. There is no entitlement defense as in Spousal Support. In fact, the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Childress v. Bogosian (January 10, 2011) noted that “APL may not be denied on the basis that a spouse is cohabitating with another.”

Both Spousal Support and APL are calculated in the same way. The support is 40% of the difference between the payor’s net monthly income and the recipient’s net monthly income, if there are no minor children. If there are minor children, then the income differential is reduced by the amount of the child support, and the result is multiplied by 30%. In general, the support award is added to the child support award into an unallocated support order. The payment is taxable to the recipient and a deduction for the payor.

If you need an attorney with knowledge and experience dealing with Alimony Pendente Lite, contact us today for your free consultation.

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