Temporary Relief

Court ordered relief before a divorce is completed

In any matter involving divorce, legal separation, or annulment, and in some proceedings involving couples that are not married, after a case is filed, but before it is resolved, either party may ask the court for an award of “temporary relief.” Some lawyers and judges refer to this as "Pendete Lite" relief. Not surprisingly, when a case is initially filed, emotions often run high, and one or both parties may be unsure of what will happen during the time it takes to resolve all issues. Upon agreement of the parties, or upon the motion of either party, the court has the authority to enter an order that deals with a wide range of issues, including temporary custody, parenting time, child support, and spousal support. That order will remain in place until further order of the court or until the case has concluded. The court may also order one party to pay “suit money” to the other party, which is then used to pay for attorneys and experts to move the case forward to resolution. The court can order a party to pay certain bills, and can award one party the temporary exclusive use and possession of real or personal property or business interests. The court can also allocate responsibility for paying household bills between the parties.

Whether you need to ask the court for temporary relief, or whether the other party will ask for temporary relief, is usually something that can be determined very early in your case. As is the case with other issues in a divorce, temporary relief issues often can be resolved through settlement negotiations or mediation.

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