Spousal Support/Alimony Pendente Lite/Alimony

One of the biggest concerns when contemplating a divorce is the fact that you will now be supporting two households on the same income, or incomes that previously supported one household.   Regardless of the situation you were in before the divorce/separation, dual or single income family, at Sweeney & Neary we have the knowledge, experience and skill-set to help you navigate this difficult aspect of your new life, whether you are the obligor (the spouse paying support) or the obligee (the spouse receiving support).

First, it is important to understand the differences between spousal support, alimony pendente lite, and alimony. 

Spousal Support

Spousal support is support paid from one spouse to another prior to the parties’ being divorced.  It is important to remember that spousal support, unlike Alimony Pendente Lite, is subject to what is known as an “entitlement defense.”  Our attorneys can help you decide whether filing for spousal support or Alimony Pendente Lite is the right choice for you.  If you are the obligor (the spouse paying support), we can also advise you as to proper defenses with regards to same.

Alimony Pendente Lite

Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is support paid from one spouse to another after a divorce action has been commenced, but prior to the Divorce Decree being entered.  Of note, Alimony Pendente Lite is not subject to an “entitlement defense.”  


Alimony, unlike spousal support and APL, is support paid from one ex-spouse to the other ex-spouse after the parties are divorced.  When determining whether, and if so, how much, alimony should be awarded, the Court weighs seventeen (17) different factors.

How much will I pay/receive?

In determining the appropriate spousal support, alimony pendente lite, or alimony amount that will be paid, it is imperative that you have skilled legal counsel to navigate you through this process because simply looking at someone’s wages that are listed on his/her tax return may not provide the entire financial picture.  For example; the custodial arrangement of the children (primary/partial or shared physical custody); the legitimate business expenses for self-employed individuals; mandatory employee retirement contributions; perquisites received by a spouse from his/her employer (such as a car allowance or stock options); distributions actually received from a partnership versus what’s shown on a partner’s K-1; and a variety of other items – too numerous to mention – could be the difference in thousands of dollars received, or paid, each month.

Whether you will be paying or receiving support from your spouse, by working with a dedicated and experienced lawyer at Sweeney & Neary, LLP, you can be certain that your rights are well protected. 

For more information on the law regarding alimony and support in Pennsylvania, you can read the statute here.