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What does pendente lite mean?

What does pendente lite mean?

During your divorce the Court is concerned with maintaing the status quo of the marriage during the pendency of the divorce action. In order to accomplish this, the Court grants pendente lite relief, which means, in the interim. Typical forms of relief include but are not limited to, child support, maintenance, medical and unreimbursed medical expenses, carrying charges, and other necessities

Each marriage is different, and therefore every divorce is different, however there are some commonalities that exist. Pendente lite relief is often affected by different factors, some of which do not play as significant a role once the divorce is finalized. The most common example is that during the pendency of a divorce action often the parties are still living in the same house. This will affect the forms of pendente lite relief the court will award versus a matter where one spouse is already out of the house.

As an attorney it is important to optimize the pendente lite period of the divorce action because it can have an affect on the overall outcome of your case. For example, if the Court imputes income to one party which is higher than that person is able to support, that spouse is likely to accrue arrears, which are outstanding monies owed.

Additionally, the pendente lite period can sometimes be slowed down. Pendente lite orders are one of the common causes of contempt applications. Contempt often slows down a case because it can lead to motion practice.

It is important to discuss your options with your attorney during the pendency of your divorce action because, unfortunately, the average divorce takes time to finalize and the pendente lite period continues until the entry of the Judgement of Divorce.


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