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ALIETTE S. HORN v. RONALD A. HORN (08/14/89)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


submitted: August 14, 1989.

ALIETTE S. HORN, APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD A. HORN, APPELLANT

Appeal from Order Docketed February 14, 1989, in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Family, No. 1104 NS 1984.

COUNSEL

Gary Kalmeyer, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Mark Mansour, Asst. Public Defender, Greensburg, for appellee.

Olszewski, Montemuro and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 388 Pa. Super. Page 47]

This is an appeal from the denial of a request for reduction of spousal support. The background of this case is somewhat convoluted. The court of common pleas entered an order requiring appellant to pay appellee $700 per month in spousal support. Subsequently, appellant and appellee

[ 388 Pa. Super. Page 48]

    became entangled in divorce litigation, filed separately at a different term of court.*fn1 The divorce litigation was bifurcated, and the judge in that action ordered "that the Order of Support entered at No. 1104 of 1984, D.R. 36349 shall continue as Alimony Pendente Lite."*fn2

Appellant then filed the present action, a request for reduction of support. The court of common pleas denied the request, noting that a decision in the divorce action is "imminent" and "will resolve . . . the issue of alimony." This appeal followed.

The only issue properly before the trial court was the issue of spousal support. The trial court's opinion addresses the issue of alimony pendente lite, rather than spousal support; accordingly, this appeal must be dismissed and the case remanded for a hearing and findings on the issue of spousal support.

This Court has repeatedly held that spousal support and alimony pendente lite are distinct concepts.*fn3 See generally, Prozzoly v. Prozzoly, 327 Pa. Super. 326, 475 A.2d 820 (1984); Wargo v. Wargo, 184 Pa. Super. 587, 136 A.2d 163 (1957). The duty to provide spousal support is derived from marital obligations, White v. White, 226 Pa. Super. 499, 313 A.2d 776 (1973), and that duty terminates when the marriage does, Remick v. Remick, 310 Pa. Super. 23, 456 A.2d 163 (1983). Spousal support is designed to ensure the dependent spouse a reasonable living allowance. Levine v. Levine, 360 Pa. Super. 297, 301, 520 A.2d 466, 468 (1987). The duty to provide alimony pendente lite arises upon the commencement of litigation and continues until all

[ 388 Pa. Super. Page 49]

    of the economic issues are settled. Wolk v. Wolk, 318 Pa. Super. 311, 464 A.2d 1359 (1983). Alimony pendente lite is designed to allow a dependent spouse to pursue the divorce litigation, Keller v. Keller, 275 Pa. Super. 573, 419 A.2d 49 (1980). Spousal support and alimony pendente lite are not mutually exclusive, Remick v. Remick, 310 Pa. Super. 23, 456 A.2d 163 (1983), nor interdependent, Keller v. Keller, 275 Pa. Super. 573, 419 A.2d 49 (1980) (support obligation ended, but alimony pendente lite obligation continued).

The trial court's opinion and appellant's brief address the issue of alimony pendente lite, rather than spousal support. The issue of alimony pendente lite is part of the divorce action at No. 1944 of 1985D; the trial court had no authority to address that issue. Cf. Pa.R.Civ.P. 1910.18 (proceedings to modify or terminate support must be brought in the court which entered the order). Instead, the trial court should have addressed the appropriateness of continuing the $700 per month spousal support award, given the fact that the marriage has been terminated. This appeal is therefore dismissed and remanded to the trial court for appropriate proceedings.

Appeal dismissed. Remanded for hearing and findings on request for reduction of support. Jurisdiction relinquished.

Disposition

Appeal dismissed. Remanded for hearing and findings on request for reduction of support. Jurisdiction relinquished.


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