When it’s time for a marital separation or divorce, some spouses may need “alimony pendente lite” (APL) spousal support to help cover household expenses and legal costs. APL is temporary spousal support paid until the divorce is final. In Pennsylvania, married persons (including spouses who are separated) are legally responsible to support each other up to their respective abilities.
The law provides a formula for setting spousal support or APL in Pennsylvania, which is equal to 40% of the differential between the net monthly incomes of the spouses, or 30% if they have minor children. The household expenses are a secondary consideration, which might come into play as grounds for an upward or downward adjustment. An expense-based adjustment is even more likely in a high-income case, where the formula might result in a hardship or windfall.
Prior to the filing of a divorce, a spouse may forfeit the right to receive spousal support by engaging in misconduct or grounds for a fault divorce, e.g., indignities, Kine v. Kine, 568 A.2d 627 (Pa.Super.1989); Morley v. Morley, 424 A.2d 524 (Pa.Super.1981), or adultery, Hoffman v. Hoffman, 762 A.2d 766 (Pa.Super.2000). The misconduct claimed to nullify the support obligation must be proven with clear and convincing evidence. Roach v. Roach, 487 A.2d 27 (Pa.Super.1985); Aiello v. Aiello, 620 A.2d 1230 (Pa. Super. 1992).