What Impact Does Alimony Pendente Lite Have On Alimony?

Finances play a big part in every divorce. Even when both parties are working, there is a huge impact to consider when going from a two-income household to a single-income household. As a result, parties often file for Alimony Pendente Lite or Alimony. The primary focus of this blog entry is to discuss the difference between these two forms of support and further discuss their impacts on each other.

To help separate the two, Alimony Pendente Lite is frequently referred to as “APL,” for short. APL is a form of temporary alimony that is only available while the divorce is pending, and it terminates immediately once the divorce is granted. APL has a very specific purpose in divorces. That is, APL is based on the need for the parties to have equal financial resources to pursue a divorce. In other words, the law wants to ensure that both parties have a “fair fight” throughout the divorce process.

In some marriages, one spouse may earn far more than the other. Or it’s frequently the case that one spouse manages all the finances and has control of most assets in the marriage. This creates a huge disadvantage for the lower-earning spouse, who now needs to hire an attorney, negotiate a settlement, and possibly get their own place to take care of themselves. If facing financial duress, the lower-earning spouse may accept a settlement offer far below what is fair simply because it’s quicker.

The purpose of APL is to ensure the lesser earner receives financial support from the higher earner, so they are not pressured into accepting less than what is equitable given the circumstances of the marriage.

Opposite to APL, the true form of alimony is the compensation a party receives after the divorce has been granted. In this case, there are no more property issues in dispute, and the parties have successfully terminated their marriage bonds.

The purpose behind alimony is very different from APL. Alimony is to ensure the reasonable needs of the other spouse are met if they are unable to support themselves through appropriate employment.  This is not to say that alimony is permanent. The courts will require an individual to obtain training and experience to take care of themselves. But alimony steps in to help them take care of their reasonable needs until they are able to stand on their own two feet. In determining the amount and duration of alimony, the court looks to a variety of factors, including but not limited to the age, experience, and health of the spouses and the length of their marriage.

On a separate note, some clients have the mistaken idea that if you receive APL, you might be excluded from alimony. However, this is not accurate. The courts have made it clear that APL and alimony are to be analyzed separately, and receiving one is not justification for eliminating another.

If you are in need of experienced divorce attorneys, contact the Lancaster Law Group by calling 717-358-0600, or by filling out our contact form here.