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A. Purpose of APL

    1. APL is an order for temporary support granted to a spouse while a divorce or annulment proceeding is in progress.

    2. APL is awarded to equalize the parties’ ability to maintain or defend the divorce action.

    3. In addition to considering the petitioner’s ability to maintain or defend the divorce action on an even footing, the respondent’s ability to pay and the parties’ general situation must be considered.

    4. There cannot be an order of spousal support and APL simultaneously.

B. Eligibility for APL

    1. APL must be brought as part of a divorce action, or may result from the conversion of spousal support to APL following the entry of a decree in divorce where economic claims remain pending.

    2. Marital misconduct is not relevant in a claim for APL and is not a factor to be used by the court in determining the APL award.

    3. The right to receive APL ends with the termination of the divorce litigation, or when the recipient spouse obtains a sufficient estate (as through equitable distribution or alimony) to end the need for equalizing the parties’ ability to conduct the divorce litigation.

    4. If an appeal is pending on an equitable distribution claim, APL will continue through the appeal process until a final order is entered.

C. Amount of the APL award

    1. The Pennsylvania Support Guidelines apply to APL also.

    2. APL may be retroactive to the date of filing.

    3. The guidelines provide a rebuttable presumption for the proper APL amount based on the parties’ income.

    4. The APL award must not be confiscatory.

    5. In addition to APL, the court may order reasonable counsel fees and expenses pending final disposition of the litigation.

    6. The court may direct continued maintenance and beneficiary designation or purchase of health and life insurance policies.

    7. Where there has been a voluntary reduction of income, income will be determined by his/her earning capacity (applies to both parties).


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