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Financial Survival During the Divorce Process

By Amar S. Weisman, Esquire

Even though your divorce may end in financial stability, the divorce process creates financial stress. At the same time as you incur new expenses like attorney’s fees, counseling costs, and relocation expenses, you lose access to old resource--like your spouse’s income, bank accounts, and credit.

If you are financially dependent on your spouse and looking for a way to get through the divorce process, you should probably ask your attorney about alimony pendent lite (APL). It is a form of temporary alimony awarded to dependent spouses to maintain the “status quo” during the divorce process. APL can prevent the primary wage earner from “starving” a dependent spouse into a lousy settlement.

The process for receiving APL can take months, but when ultimately awarded APL can include back payments from the time the APL was first requested to present day. Unlike other kinds of alimony—like indefinite alimony and rehabilitative alimony—APL is not based on the strength of your overall case—saints and sinners can both get APL.

When analyzing how much APL to award, judges consider the each spouse’s earning and spending patterns and then ask two questions: first, does the spouse seeking APL need the money to maintain the same standard of living s/he enjoyed during the marriage? Second, can the primary wage earner afford to pay? It is all about numbers.

Although it may take a significant amount of time to obtain an Order to receive APL, the order is enforceable. Spouses with the ability to pay who refuse face civil and criminal contempt. Judges also may impose wage garnishments against a party that is otherwise unwilling to comply with the law.

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