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Can spousal support be ordered prior to divorce?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2022 | Alimony |

Once a couple files for divorce, it’s easy to get caught up in the long-term decisions a court will make at the end of the process. But it’s important to understand that there are some things which can happen as soon as the proceedings begin, depending on the circumstances of the divorce.

Alimony pendente lite

Alimony is not necessary in every divorce – whether a court orders it will depend upon a number of factors the court analyzes. Alimony pendente lite is a form of temporary spousal support, but it is used during the divorce proceedings, rather than after the divorce is final.

Imagine a situation where two spouses earn significantly different individual incomes. One spouse works and earns a substantial salary while the other primarily remains at home to care for the couple’s children. The couple decides to divorce and the working spouse moves out of the family home, while the stay-at-home spouse continues day-to-day care of the children.

In the absence of the working spouse’s income, the stay-at-home spouse alone would be unable to meet the financial needs of the family. This is where alimony pendente lite comes in. It exists to maintain the financial status quo of the marriage while the divorce is ongoing.

Alimony pendente lite is not ordered automatically by the court. Instead, it must be requested by one party, at which point the court will consider its necessity and order it when appropriate. Furthermore, the court will only order an amount which is reasonable under the circumstances – the goal is not to simply shift the financial disparity from one spouse to the other. Alimony pendente lite ends once the divorce is finalized.