Motion for Pendente Lite (Temporary) Relief in a New Jersey Divorce Proceeding
By Peter Van Aulen, Esq.
If a divorce in NJ can take over a year to finalize (shorter if the parties settle) then what should a spouse do if the other party refuses to pay the mortgage, refuses to pay the utilities, starts transferring assets, refuses to pay any spousal support, refuses to pay child support, refuses to pay the child’s private school or college tuition, refuses to pay car insurance, refuses to pay for health and life insurance? The answer is to have your New Jersey divorce lawyer file a Pendente Lite (Latin for “awaiting the litigation”) Motion for Relief. A Motion is an application to the Court requesting certain relief. The purpose of a Pendente Lite Motion in NJ is to enable the applicant and children to maintain the status quo if possible. A Pendente Lite Motion consists of a notice of Motion, Certifications, Order, and Case Information Statement. The following is what can be granted though a Pendente Lite Motion:
- Child support.
- Spousal support.
- Temporary child custody.
- Setting a parenting time schedule.
- Ordering a child custody evaluation.
- Ordering a best interest report.
- Awarding counsel fees for your your NJ divorce lawyer.
- Awarding temporary sole possession of the marital residence.
- Ordering the payment of certain bills such as mortgage, utilities, car insurance, marital liabilities, college and private school tuition.
- Ordering the payment of health insurance.
- Ordering the payment of uncovered medical, prescriptive drugs, optical and dental expenses.
- Ordering the evaluation of real estate, pension or business.
- Appointment of a vocational expert to establish earning ability.
- Prohibiting and restraining a spouse from selling, transferring or dissipating marital assets.
- Order the sealing of a safe deposit box.
- Ordering the payment and continuation of life insurance for certain beneficiaries.
- Awarding sole possession of certain vehicles.
- Ordering the payment of work related child care.
It is important to note that if a spouse is ordered to pay for most of the household expenses such as mortgage, utilities, and/or car insurance, he or she will most likely not be ordered to pay child support according to the guidelines because he or she is already supporting the children. One should file a Pendente Lite Motion as soon as the other spouse refuses to come to an agreement concerning temporary support because Pendente Lite Motions have to be filed 24 days before the hearing date. Therefore, one does not want to wait to file when the utilities are going to be turned off. It is possible that one can file a Pendente Lite application as an Order to Show Cause, and be heard immediately. However, the party has to demonstrate irreparable harm in order for the Court to consider an Order to Show Cause or the Court will convert it into a Motion. Also, it is important to note that Pendente Lite Orders end when the final divorce is granted. Therefore, if there is relief one wants to continue after the divorce is granted they must incorporated the same in the Final Judgment of Divorce or in the Marital Settlement Agreement. It is important that a New Jersey Pendente Lite Motions are well drafted in order to get all of the relief one is entitled to. Further, the amount of support that is granted in a Pendente Lite application can have an impact on how much support a party will receive in the Final Judgment of Divorce. For a free consultation call Peter Van Aulen an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer today at (201) 845-7400.