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What is Pendente Lite?

By February 21, 2023March 13th, 2023Divorce, Litigation Preparation

Pendente lite is a Latin term meaning, “during litigation.” 

So when you have a pendente lite hearing, it is a hearing on how to address the issues of your divorce while the case is ongoing. 

A pendente lite order is a temporary order that remains in place until your divorce is finalized, which can often take between 6 and 12 months. While many matters can be addressed by the court in a pendente lite order, the court does not make a fault determination at this stage

Importantly, a pendente lite order is just as binding as any court order, and the parties must obey the order. Read on to learn how our Virginia divorce attorneys at Slovensky Law Firm can help you prepare for pendente lite in your case.

The Pendente Lite Hearing

You will have a brief hearing to settle pendente lite matters – usually 30 to 60 minutes. Much like any other hearing, your attorney will present evidence to the court, and all parties will attend.

What issues can the judge address?

There are many issues that can be addressed at this time.

The pendente lite statute gives the court the authority to rule on the following:

How much spousal support can the judge order in a pendente lite hearing?

The law gives judges guidelines for determining spousal support

While the judge is not bound to follow the guidelines, the guidelines can give you and your divorce attorney a very rough idea of the amount that the judge may be inclined to order.

Will the judge order one party to pay the other’s attorney’s fees?

The judge can make that order. 

However, the court usually chooses to determine attorney’s fees at the final hearing. The judge considers the financial situation of both parties when deciding whether to award attorney’s fees.

What do you need to prepare for the pendente lite hearing?

Please make sure that you have provided your divorce attorney with all of the information they have requested from you. 

If you have not told your attorney something important about your case, now is the time to do so. The pendente lite order will greatly affect your finances and custody arrangements until the final trial.

What can you expect after the pendente lite hearing?

While you will know what the judge ordered when you leave the court, you will not immediately receive a written order. It may take several weeks for the attorneys to get the order drafted.

After pendente lite is concluded, you are bound by pendente lite until the court issues a new ruling. 

At this time, your attorney will begin working on a permanent resolution to your case – likely by preparing for the final trial.

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