Alimony is an aspect of divorce that is often misunderstood. People have many misconceptions about alimony and often get it confused with Spousal Support and Alimony Pendente Lite or APL.  Spousal support and APL are both orders made before a divorce is final. Spousal support is support paid after the parties separate, but before a divorce is final and it may be ordered before a divorce action is even filed. APL is a temporary order for support made after the divorce action is filed but before there is a final divorce decree. Orders for spousal support and APL cannot be in place at the same time.

Alimony differs from spousal support and APL because it is a payment made to an ex-spouse after a divorce decree has been entered.  There are a list of factors the court is to consider when awarding alimony. However there are essentially three types of alimony: rehabilitative, permanent and compensatory.

Rehabilitative alimony is by far the most common.  Alimony that is rehabilitative in nature is designed to help support the economically dependent spouse for a set period of time after the divorce so that he/she can obtain the education or skills necessary to become self-supporting.  The second type of alimony is permanent alimony, which is awarded in cases where a spouse may be disabled or chronically ill.  Permanent alimony may also be ordered when the spouse is an older homemaker without job skills or education who never worked outside of the home and thus has no realistic prospect of attaining economic self-sufficiency. And finally, alimony can be compensatory under the theory of “economic reimbursement”.  In this instance, alimony can be used to compensate a party who contributed to the education and training of the other spouse above and beyond the regular duty of support.  For example, compensatory alimony may be awarded to a spouse who worked two jobs so that the other spouse could attend medical school.

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If you or someone you know has a question about alimony, contact the attorneys at LaMonaca Law at (610) 892-3877.

About the author

About Jennifer Lemanowicz

Jennifer attended College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, before being awarded a Merit Scholarship to Widener University School of Law. Following law school, Jennifer worked for a general practice firm where she gained experience in a variety of legal areas, including family law, non-profit law, and estate planning and administration. Jennifer joined LaMonaca Law as an associate in 2015, and concentrates her practice on matters of family law, including all aspects of divorce, support and custody proceedings. Jennifer is a whiz with a spreadsheet and is a member of the firm’s Forensic Support Team, which specializes in cases involving high value assets or complex marital estates. Jennifer is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, as well as the Montgomery County and Delaware County Bar Associations, and she was recently recognized as a “Best Lawyer” by the Delaware County Daily Times. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys listening to true crime podcasts, going out to eat with friends, and spending time with her family.