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Spousal Support: Alimony Pendente Lite FAQ

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

Alimony Pendente Lite, or APL, is temporary spousal support that includes an allowance to pay for prosecution of the divorce itself. Family law is mostly regulated by the states, so the specifics do vary and you will have to inform yourself of local law. Here are some Alimony Pendente Lite basics to help you understand what you read.

Five Basic Questions Answered

1. Why call it Alimony Pendente Lite? The pendente in APL indicates the temporary nature of this form of support. It lasts while the divorce is pending and is intended to allow a spouse to prosecute the divorce, or go forward with it.

2. Is APL automatic? No, it is not automatic. If you are seeking support, you will have to apply for temporary support and be prepared to show that you need it. There are forms available online and in court self-help centers. But having a lawyer certainly makes it easier on you and APL allows for that by including funds for prosecuting the divorce.

3. Is APL punitive? Alimony Pendente Lite is purely practical. Temporary support is not a form of punishment for adultery or other harm and it is not a type of damages (although it may feel like it to the person ordered to pay).

4. Who qualifies for APL? Alimony is always based on some general principles. It depends on numerous factors, most notably need, and is extremely relative. Alimony is calculated based on expenses and a person's ability to provide for themselves. The economic quality of life a couple shared previously will indicate how much support to award. A pop star's spouse will need tens of thousands of dollars a month in maintenance while a mere mortal with a worker's earnings will get much less.

5. Must I pay APL? If your spouse is seeking temporary support, you may well be ordered by the court to pay it. How much precisely, again, depends on numerous factors, most importantly your finances and your spouse's ability to survive.

Consult With a Family Lawyer

Whether you are seeking temporary support or have been asked to pay, do not delay. Consult with a divorce lawyer and learn your options. Many lawyers will consult at no cost. Talking to someone can help you make sense of your case whatever side of the equation you find yourself on.

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