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What is a pendente lite support?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Spousal Support

When a marriage ends, the emotional and financial implications can be overwhelming. As couples navigate the divorce process, they must confront countless decisions that will shape their future. One critical aspect of this journey is understanding the role of temporary spousal support while the divorce proceeding is ongoing.

The basics of temporary support

Pendente lite, a Latin term meaning “pending the litigation,” refers to temporary orders issued by a court during the divorce process. These orders remain in effect until the court settles on a final judgment. In the context of spousal support, pendente lite orders ensure that the financially dependent spouse can maintain a reasonable standard of living while the divorce proceedings are ongoing.

Courts consider several factors when determining pendente lite spousal support. These may include:

  • The income and earning capacity of both spouses
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of both parties
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Any existing child support obligations

It’s important to note that pendente lite support does not necessarily indicate the final spousal support order. The court will conduct a more comprehensive analysis when determining long-term support obligations.

Pendente lite support is not automatic. The spouse seeking support must file a motion with the court. They must be able to provide evidence of their financial needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

Why pendente lite spousal support matters

Pendente lite is not just about money; it’s about stability and fairness. Divorce can disrupt lives in many ways and financial uncertainty can add to the stress. This support helps cover essential living expenses such as housing, utilities and groceries. Temporary support also ensures that both parties can focus on resolving their differences without the added pressure of financial instability.

Additionally, pendente lite support can serve as a foundation for the final spousal support arrangements. It provides the court with a clear picture of each spouse’s financial situation, helping to create a fair and equitable final settlement.