How Can Alimony Assist You During a Divorce?

Going through a divorce is an already very intense and emotional experience. Frequently, we hear new clients share a concern that they are not yet financially independent from their spouse. Whether both parties were working, or one stayed home to care for the household, this change in the family dynamic can be a huge financial adjustment, which many find intimidating. This can only be compounded by the need to work through the divorce process, hire an attorney, and do all of this while trying to still maintain one’s living expenses.

When the circumstances are appropriate, we will frequently advise our clients to seek Alimony Pendente Lite, or APL for short. This is a form of Alimony that is present while the divorce is pending. This means that once the divorce is granted, APL is terminated. To continue receiving Alimony after a divorce is granted, you must either have an agreement with your ex-spouse or a Court must award such payments.

APL is very specific in its purpose. The law wants to make sure that both parties are on the same or similar financial footing while a divorce is pending so that it’s a “fair fight.” The most extreme example is a stay-at-home spouse who has taken care of the household while the working spouse is able to work and grow their earning potential. While the stay-at-home spouse’s work is invaluable, they simply do not have the same earning potential if they suddenly had to enter the work force. In many cases, the working spouse may also have primary control over all of the assets, including bank accounts.

For the stay-at-home spouse, this can put pressure on them to just agree to any settlement extended by the working spouse so that they can get some money to get on their feet, regardless of whether it’s equitable under the law.

This is where APL steps in to assist. If there is a disparity between the earnings of two spouses, the law may require the higher earning spouse to pay the lower earning spouse each month to ensure both parties are able to work through the divorce with the same negotiating power.

The only exception to receiving APL is when one spouse has committed a personal injury crime against the other spouse. In those cases, the spouse who committed the personal injury crime shall not be entitled to receive APL, as this would be a far greater injustice.

Nonetheless, the availability of APL can give the relief someone needs while navigating this difficult process. Pursuant to the statute, the court may allow reasonable alimony pendente lite and shall also have authority to direct adequate health and hospitalization insurance coverage for the dependent spouse.

If you would like to discuss the divorce process or the potential of receiving APL, please contact our experienced divorce attorneys at 717-358-0600 to schedule a consult.