The Monroe County Court of Common Pleas recently affirmed a support master’s recommendations as to an award of alimony pendente lite (APL) and medical expenses in a case between divorcing spouses. APL is financial support that the higher-income spouse pays to the lower-income spouse after divorce proceedings have begun.
In the case, Gilmore v. Gilmore, the husband was employed, earning over $100,000 per year, while the wife was completely disabled and suffered from bipolar disorder. After a series of interim orders were issued, a support master
issued an order requiring the husband to pay $1,239.00 per month in APL as well as to continue to provide health insurance for the wife and to pay for 90% of her unreimbursed medical expenses.
Both the husband and wife filed exceptions to the master’s order, though the Monroe County court upheld all aspects of the order. The court held that under existing case law, it had to begin by reviewing the master’s report explaining his recommended order.
Upon review of the master’s report, the court upheld the master’s recommendations as to tax deductions, the husband’s responsibility for the wife’s healthcare costs, and the master’s refusal to deviate from the support guidelines.
APL amounts can vary from Pennsylvania’s Support Guidelines when a number of factors are present, such as additional income to the party receiving support, but here, none of those factors were present.
The court also upheld the master’s decision to set a time limit on the APL requirement, because one could reasonably believe that the divorce could be completed within one year and there were not many economic issues.
Although spousal support and APL is determined primarily by the parties’ incomes, caveats in the law do exist. If you want to ensure that your rights are protected in Pennsylvania support cases, contact the family law attorneys at Petrelli Previtera Schimmel, We are here to help!