Among the many issues which must be resolved through a divorce proceeding, spousal support can be one of the most important. It has practical implications for the day-to-day lives of both the spouse who would pay spousal support and the spouse who would receive it. What many people don’t realize is that spousal support does not have to wait until a final divorce order is issues.
Support while the divorce is still pending
Spousal support exists to rectify financial imbalances which may exist between spouses who are divorcing. However, the divorce process can sometimes take quite a while – many months or even a year in certain cases. How will the financially dependent spouse make it through that time? What if they are unable to meet their financial obligations without the support of their spouse? This is where pendente lite spousal support comes in.
Pendente lite is Latin for ‘pending the litigation’ and it exists to balance the financial scales during the divorce process. It is spousal support, but not the same one which can be ordered in the final divorce decree. Pendente lite spousal support is only available after the divorce has been filed and before the final judgment is entered. It is not granted automatically; instead, the spouse in need of pendente lite spousal support must petition for it with the court.
Both spouses will be required to submit and exchange financial information, such as tax records and pay stubs. The court will then hold a hearing to determine whether interim spousal support is warranted. If the court decides it is warranted, the amount ordered depends on whether the spouses have minor children and the specific financial circumstances of the parties. The order is considered temporary, lasting only until the divorce is final.