What to Do if Your Spouse is Not Paying Household Bills While Divorce is Pending?
If you are going through a divorce in Florida, many things in your life are about to change. However, monthly household bills and payments will remain unchanged regardless of whether you are still married, in the process of getting divorced, or have already finalized your divorce case.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce case, it can take months or even years to finalize your divorce. For this reason, it is critical to discuss with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse who will pay household bills while your divorce is pending.
If you and your partner cannot reach a consensus, contact a skilled divorce attorney in Orlando to facilitate negotiations and help you discover your options.
Who Should Pay Household Bills While a Divorce Case is Pending?
Under Florida family law, both parties to a divorce must meet the financial commitments created during the marriage. In other words, if your spouse has always paid household bills in the course of the marriage, they will most likely be responsible for the bills while the divorce is pending.
Until the court divides all marital assets and debts, both parties to a divorce are required to keep the status quo as much as possible. Keep in mind that both parties can be held responsible for their failure to pay household bills in a timely manner.
However, if you were unable to come to an agreement and your partner refuses to pay household bills while your divorce is pending, you should consult with an attorney regarding:
- Using your joint marital funds to pay the bills; or
- Asking for temporary or pendente lite support.
What if You Cannot Come to an Agreement with Your Partner?
Under Florida law, parties to a divorce can use or sell marital assets to be able to pay household bills and deal with usual household expenses. Your continued and uninterrupted access to marital funds to be able to pay household bills prevents the other party from arguing that you dissipated or wasted marital assets.
If using marital assets is not an option, and you cannot come to an agreement with your partner, you may qualify for temporary or pendente lite support in Florida. Essentially, pendente lite is a type of alimony that is awarded to the lower-earning spouse while the divorce case is pending.
The court will consider many factors before awarding pendente lite, including but not limited to:
- Your financial status;
- Your partner’s ability to make alimony payments; and
- The need to pay household bills.
Unlike alimony, pendente lite ends when your divorce is finalized. An experienced alimony attorney on your side can assist with turning the short-term award of pendente lite into a long-term alimony award.
It is best to come to an agreement with your partner regarding household bills while your divorce case is ongoing. If your spouse is reluctant to negotiate or refuses to pay household bills, it is best to talk with a knowledgeable family law attorney to assist in negotiations and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Contact our Orlando divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., to schedule a consultation. Call at 407-521-7171 to discuss your options if you cannot come to an agreement regarding who will pay household bills.