If you are too intimidated to file for divorce because you are worried about financially supporting yourself until it is final, you should look into pendente lite. The term means "pending legislation," which is fitting because it offers a chance for you to get money from your spouse soon after you file. This is why it is important to hire a divorce lawyer as soon as you know you are ready to end your marriage.
The Reason Behind Pendente Lite
The court is aware you have expenses to pay during the divorce, so it is not fair to make you wait months or even years for the case to be final before you start getting alimony or child support. This is especially true if you have no income because you are a stay-at-home spouse. No matter how long it takes for the divorce to be final, you have to pay the rent or mortgage, car payments, and utility bills. You also need groceries, gas, and necessities for any children you have. Fortunately, pendente lite should allow you to get the money you need soon after you file.
It is not guaranteed that you will get pendente lite, especially if you could be working but refuse to during the divorce. However, if it is clear you cannot work, or you make much less than your spouse, you will likely be offered enough to pay the bills you share as a couple. At the very least, a judge may order your spouse to take over all the bills during the divorce, even if you are not actually sent money. But in general, you should be able to live a similar lifestyle to the one you had during marriage when it comes finances.
When deciding the amount, the judge will take into account the amount your spouse makes, as well as your expenses. In some cases, not only will the household bills be considered for pendente lite, but some of your legal fees will, as well. Be prepared to show documentation of your bills and any income you get so you have a chance at maintaining your standard of living while the divorce is going on.
In many cases, the decisions made when it comes to pendente lite will be permanent once the divorce is final. Of course, if it turns out the amount you are getting during that time is not enough to pay the household bills, you can appeal it and request more. But when it is apparent both parties are satisfied with the pendente lite arrangement, it is often easiest for a judge to keep it the same in the long run.
Shortly after you file for divorce, you need to inquire about pendente lite if you do not have enough income to support yourself. It can be hard to know how to go about this immediately, so it's best to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we have been handling cases involving pendente lite for decades. Call today for help.