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Summary of Pennsylvania Jurisprudence for Alimony Pendente Lite: Spousal Support

Summary of Pennsylvania Jur

Database updated April 2010

Family Law

Part Two. Dissolution of Marriage

Chapter 5. Alimony, Disposition of Property, and Other Allowances

Stephanie Giggetts, J.D.

I. Alimony Pendente Lite: Spousal Support

§ 5:1. Generally

Wilder, 17 West's Pennsylvania Practice: Family Law §§ 5:1, 5:2 (7th ed.) (Actions, parties and procedure)

Wilder, 17 West's Pennsylvania Practice: Family Law § 5:4 (7th ed.) (Alimony pendente lite and support)

West's Key Number Digest

West's Key Number Digest, Divorce 208, 209

A.L.R. Library

Court's authority to award temporary alimony or suit money in action for divorce, separate maintenance, or alimony where the existence of a valid marriage is contested, 34 A.L.R.4th 814

Treatises and Practice Aids

Pennsylvania Matrimonial Practice §§ 35:1 to 35:4, 37:1, 37:2 (Rule re temporary alimony, support, counsel fees, costs and expenses)

Std. Pa. Prac. 2d § 126:646 (Generally; purpose)

Forms

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Annulment of Marriage § 10 (Request for relief-Child legitimation and custody-Division of property-Child support-Alimony pendente lite-Suit money-Restoration of name)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Annulment of Marriage § 80 (Notice of motion-for alimony pendente lite and costs in annulment action)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Annulment of Marriage § 82 (Affidavit-In support of motion for order to show cause-Alimony pendente lite and suit money)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation § 124 (Wife's right to alimony pending action)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation § 217 (Notice of motion-For alimony, child support, attorney's fees, and suit money)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation § 218 (Motion-For alimony, child support, attorney's fees, and suit money)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation § 219 (Motion-For order to show cause-Why alimony, child support, attorney's fees, and suit money should not be paid)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation § 222 (Order to show cause-Why alimony, child support, attorney's fees, and suit money should not be paid)

Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Divorce and Separation § 226 (Order-For temporary alimony)

The term "alimony pendente lite" is defined as an order for temporary support granted to a spouse during the pendency of a divorce or annulment proceeding.[1] The term "spousal support" is defined as care, maintenance, and financial assistance.[2] In proper cases, upon petition, the court may allow a spouse reasonable alimony pendente lite, spousal support, and reasonable counsel fees and expenses. Reasonable counsel fees and expenses may be allowed pendente lite, and the court also shall have authority to direct that adequate health and hospitalization insurance coverage be maintained for the dependent spouse pendente lite.[3]

Alimony pendente lite (APL) is based on the need of one party to have equal financial resources to pursue a divorce proceeding when, in theory, the other party has major assets which are the financial sinews of domestic warfare.[4] In addition, APL is designed to help the dependent spouse maintain the standard of living enjoyed while living with the independent spouse.[5] APL is not dependent on the status of the party as being a spouse or being remarried but is based, rather, on the state of the litigation.[6]

Comment:

A son, who was joined as a defendant in divorce proceedings based on the allegation that he received marital assets for little or no consideration, was not obligated to pay alimony pendente lite (APL), as only spouses had obligation to provide support.[7]

[FN1] 23 Pa.C.S. § 3103.

[FN2] 23 Pa.C.S. § 3103.

[FN3] 23 Pa.C.S. § 3702.

As to petition and answer for temporary alimony, see Std. Pa. Prac. 2d §§ 126:654, 126:655.

[FN4] Busse v. Busse, 2007 PA Super 100, 921 A.2d 1248 (2007), appeal denied, 594 Pa. 693, 934 A.2d 1275 (2007); Schenk v. Schenk, 2005 PA Super 266, 880 A.2d 633 (2005); Haentjens v. Haentjens, 2004 PA Super 398, 860 A.2d 1056 (2004).

[FN5] Schenk v. Schenk, 2005 PA Super 266, 880 A.2d 633 (2005).

[FN6] Schenk v. Schenk, 2005 PA Super 266, 880 A.2d 633 (2005); Prol v. Prol, 2003 PA Super 496, 840 A.2d 333 (2003).

[FN7] Dalessio v. Dalessio, 2002 PA Super 270, 805 A.2d 1250 (2002).

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