What Is Pendente Lite Meaning

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Pendente Lite Meaning

The pendente lite meaning is “awaiting litigation” or “pending the litigation.”

What Is Pendente Lite?

Pendente lite refers to temporary court orders. 

These temporary court orders are in effect until the divorce gets finalized. 

The courts will grant temporary orders “pendente lite.”

Or “pending the finalization of the divorce.”

Once the divorce gets finalized, the temporary orders get replaced. 

The courts may replace your temporary orders:

  • with the same orders, but permanent
  • with modified permanent orders
  • with no new orders (you lose the temporary support)

Pendente lite orders are used to provide support to the lower-income spouse during a divorce. 

Related: Divorce Statistics

Examples Of Pendente Lite

Let’s talk about the normal examples of pendente lite. 

Related: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First

Pendente Lite Support

Pendente lite support refers to financial support one spouse pays the other. 

Pendente lite support gets paid to the lower-income spouse. 

An example is if one spouse is a stay-at-home mom

The pendente lite support will give her enough financial support to sustain her lifestyle. 

Pendente lite support gets determined by the lifestyle maintained during the marriage. 

Spouses are not required to change their standard of living because they are getting divorced. 

This is referred to as the marital status quo

Related: How to Leave Your Husband

Pendente Lite Custody

Pendente lite custody refers to temporary custody orders during a divorce. 

Pendente lite custody covers legal custody and physical custody

Legal custody is which parent has the decision-making power for the children.

Usually, legal custody gets shared equally. 

Legal pendente lite custody covers topics like the children’s:

  •  education
  • medical care
  • dental care
  • religious studies

When legal pendente lite custody gets awarded to both parents, it’s joint legal custody. 

The other pendente lite custody is physical custody. 

Physical pendente lite custody determines who the child will live with. 

The child lives with the custodial parent

And the parent that gets visitation is the non-custodial parent. 

Physical pendente lite custody will determine the visitation schedule as well. 

Related: If There Is No Custody Order In Place Can I Take My Child

Alimony Pendente Lite

Alimony pendente lite is the same thing as pendente lite support

Alimony pendente lite is temporary alimony that gets awarded during the divorce process

To get alimony pendente lite, you have to file a petition for it. 

File this petition as quickly as possible after the divorce papers get filed. 

The courts will schedule an alimony pendente lite hearing after you file the petition. 

Here, they hear why alimony pendente lite should or should not get awarded. 

Alimony pendente lite usually gets paid by monthly cash payments

But it can also include paying certain debts like:

  • mortgage payments
  • utility bills
  • medical expenses

The usual requirements to get alimony pendente lite are:

  • there is a valid marriage
  • there is a valid state of separation
  • there is a pending action for divorce
  • the divorce is contested

Related: How Long Does Alimony Last

How To Get Pendente Lite Relief

When the divorce papers get filed, you should file a petition for pendente lite relief.

And with your petition, you’ll also want to include

 After the petition gets filed, the courts will schedule a pendent lite hearing. 

Some of the top reasons you’ll get granted pendente lite relief are:

  • the divorce process takes 6+ months
  • a spouse can’t close joint bank accounts or credit cards
  • a spouse can’t cancel health or life insurance
  • a spouse will not help with family bills
  • a spouse will not pay temporary alimony or child support
  • a spouse will not help with health, life, or medical insurance
  • spouses cannot agree on custody and visitation

There are many reasons you can get awarded pendente lite relief. 

The courts want there to be fairness in the divorce. 

Especially when there are children involved. 

They will want to keep the “status quo.”

This means a fair split of:

  • financial responsibilities
  • child custody
  • visitation
  • child support
  • alimony
  • lifestyle

Work with your divorce lawyer to put together your petition for pendente lite relief. 

Related: How Long Does A Divorce Take

Pendente Lite Hearing

What can you expect from your pendente lite hearing?

The pendente lite hearing gets scheduled within 3-4 months of filing for divorce

At the pendente lite hearing, the courts can award temporary relief to either party. 

These temporary orders granted in a pendente lite hearing include:

  • visitation
  • child support
  • alimony
  • attorney’s fees
  • litigation costs
  • health insurance
  • use and possession of the family home

Related: How Long Do You Have To Pay Alimony

Pendente Lite Order

Pendente lite orders include court orders for:

  • visitation
  • child support
  • alimony
  • attorney’s fees
  • litigation costs
  • health insurance
  • use and possession of the family home

For custody, your pendente lite order will determine, temporarily:

  • who is the custodial parent
  • who is the non-custodial parent
  • what the visitation schedule is
  • where the children will live

Remember that the judge wants to disrupt the children’s lives as little as possible. 

And your pendente lite order will reflect that. 

Parents should find places to live that are close to the children’s:

  • schools
  • friends
  • extracurricular activities
  • churches

When all things are equal, the judge will favor the parent who lives closer to these. 

For alimony, pendente lite orders will determine who pays how much.

Alimony pendente lite orders are only during the divorce process. 

And they will change once the divorce is final. 

If one spouse can’t afford an attorney, pendente lite orders may account for that. 

A judge can order one spouse to help pay for the other’s divorce lawyers

And the judge can make one spouse continue to pay for the other’s insurances. 

Related: Legal Reasons for Divorce

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