Practice Areas - Spousal Support/APL

Practice Areas

Spousal Support/APL

Spousal support is often used interchangeably with Alimony pendente lite (“APL”), but there is a subtle distinction between the two types of support.

Spousal support is the support a higher earning spouse pays to a spouse while separated but still married.  Spousal support can be paid to a lower earning spouse even if a divorce is not pending, but the person paying the support can raise a defense of marital fault (like infidelity, abuse, etc.) to avoid paying the support, if the fault is proven. 

APL on the other hand is paid only if a divorce is pending.  Unlike spousal support, there are no defenses that can be raised to avoid the support obligation when it is called APL.  Practically speaking, most parties are paying or receive APL (not spousal support) because a divorce is being pursued at the same time as a divorce.  In either case, the court will apply a formula to determine the spousal support/APL amount based on each parties’ net income available for support.  Similar to child support, while the parties are married, health insurance premiums and unreimbursed medical expenses are shared between the parties in proportion to their incomes until the divorce is final.

Both spousal support and APL are calculated pursuant to a formula that is based on each parties’ net income.

How does the Court determine income?

If both parties are full-time, W-2 wage earners, determining each person’s net income is fairly straight-forward.  However, even in the most straight-forward case, having experienced counsel on your side ensures that the proper income is assigned to both parties, and the resulting support order is appropriate for your case.

When either party is unemployed or underemployed, the court will assign a reasonable earning capacity to that party in order to determine the respective support obligations.  In those cases it is crucial to have experienced counsel on your side to navigate the issues that may arise when one or both parties’ income is not straight-forward.

What if one of us has more complex income?

If either party is self-employed or is a more highly compensated executive, determining the net income available for support is a more complex process.  Experts may be needed to analyze the income or business information of you or your spouse.  Susan will work with those experts to review and analyze the relevant documents and prepare reports for the court’s consideration.  Susan has extensive experience assisting business owners, and highly compensated executives, in complex support matters.


Pennsylvania is a “no-fault divorce” state.

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Equitable Distribution

Pennsylvania divides assets equitably not equally

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There are two categories of custody: physical and legal

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custody | gibson family law |

Child Support

Child Support is given to the custodial parent.

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Spousal Support/APL

Spousal Support is paid while separated but still married.

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 spousal support | gibson family law  bucks and montgomery county|


Alimony is support received after a divorce is final.

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alimony | gibson family law  bucks and montgomery county|

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