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Can You Be Awarded Temporary Alimony While A Divorce Is Pending In Orange County?

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If a divorce is contested, meaning the parties are arguing about every major issue including child custody and property distribution, proceedings could be drawn out for months, or even more than a year. Both for parties in which one spouse worked and the other spouse didn’t, waiting a year for a settlement or divorce trial could be financially unfair to the other party with limited means. Fortunately in Florida, family court judges can award pendente lite or temporary spousal support. 

What is Pendente Lite? 

Pendente lite is Latin for temporary. When there are significant economic differences between two parties, for example if one spouse is a homemaker and the other spouse was responsible for paying all the household expenses, it can put the supported spouse in a position of indigence until the divorce is finalized. However, if the supported spouse desires, they can file for temporary pendente lite spousal support. For example, if the couple decides to separate and the supporting spouse moves out and tries to avoid paying the rent or mortgage on the family home, the supported spouse can file for pendente lite assistance in court so that the supporting spouse is compelled to provide temporary spousal support until outstanding issues are resolved at the final divorce hearing.

To apply for pendente lite assistance, the supported spouse must file in the court of jurisdiction. This is usually in the county where the family resides. In making a decision about temporary financial support, the court will consider several factors. This includes the length of the marriage, whether the parties share minor children, the parties educational background and ability to find gainful employment, and whether making an award would negatively impact the supporting spouse. In other words, if compelling the supporting spouse to provide pendente lite assistance would render them unable to afford their own housing or a family law attorney, the court may reduce the temporary award in light of the circumstances. In addition, it is important to remember that a pendente lite is not guaranteed just because one spouse was a homemaker during the length of the marriage. Instead, awards are made on a case-by case basis. 

What Happens When the Divorce is Finalized? 

A temporary pendente lite award of spousal support does not mean that a final award of spousal support or alimony is guaranteed. Instead when determining whether alimony is appropriate, the court has several options. The court may order that the supported spouse is entitled to rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony provides the supported spouse financial alimony for a defined time period, often about a year, while the supported spouse looks for employment or seeks educational opportunities to advance their income potential. The court may also award permanent alimony if the parties were married for a substantial period of time and the supported spouse has no reasonable expectation of finding gainful employment or would be severely disparaged without a permanent alimony award. 

Contact Orlando Family Law Attorney Steve Marsee

Alimony and spousal support are often the most contentious issues in a contested divorce. If you have questions about your potential qualification for temporary or permanent spousal support, contact Orlando family law attorney Steve Marsee. With decades of experience serving clients throughout Florida, Mr. Marsee can provide tailored advice and guidance when you need it most. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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