The Importance of Pendente Lite Orders

Divorce proceedings do not happen overnight. Sometimes, it can be a long and arduous process. When that happens, it is imperative to have an Order in place for this interim time. This period, called Pendente Lite, is the time between when the Complaint for Divorce was filed and when the final Judgment of Divorce was entered.

During the Pendente Lite phase of the case, it is important to have an Order providing who will be paying what expenses. This includes household expenses, auto expenses, insurances, and personal expenses, both for the parties and for the children. These Orders can also provide that neither party can dissipate any assets Pendente Lite. Occasionally litigants try to modify their marital financial arrangements, and Pendente Lite Orders can prevent that from happening.

More importantly, Pendente Lite Orders can provide temporary custody arrangements until a final arrangement is agreed upon by the parties, or alternatively, decided by the Court at a trial. This can include not just the physical custody of the children, meaning where the children will be residing and parenting time schedules, but also legal custody for the children, which is the decision making authority for the children regarding their health, education, and welfare.

Pendente Lite Orders are to maintain the status quo of the marriage. Without getting an Order, a party may choose not to pay their spouse what the recipient spouse would be entitled to. Moreover, the payer may be overpaying what they should actually be paying. Pendente Lite Orders can provide interim relief for the parties, which often times is needed when parties cannot agree and their divorce does not get immediately resolved.

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