Man signing divorce paper

What is Alimony Pendente Lite?

Divorce is filled with many important issues that must be decided before the actual divorce can be finalized. Property and debt division is one such issue as is child support and alimony. The thing that may come as a surprise to many couples is the fact that alimony decisions can arise before the divorce is even finalized. In particular, the court can order alimony pendente lite while a divorce is pending.

What is Alimony Pendente Lite?

Getting divorced can be a financial strain and a difficult financial transition, to say the least. Alimony was created to help aid in this difficult time. After all, it is often the case where one spouse makes significantly less than the other spouse, but their combined finances allow them to live comfortably. Upon separation, the lower-earning spouse may find it impossible to make ends meet let alone live at the standard of living they experienced during the marriage.

For instance, one parent may have foregone career opportunities and advancements in order to manage the household and care for the children. Upon separating from the salary earning spouse, the stay at home parent may be able to stay in the marital home with the children, but how are they to pay for bills and incidentals? These are financial costs that will not be delayed until a divorce is finalized. Expenses and bills will keep pouring in regardless of the couple’s marital status. This is why alimony pendente lite is granted in some cases.

Alimony pendente lite is temporary alimony which is ordered and paid out while a divorce is pending. While most people consider alimony as spousal support payments that happen after a divorce is finalized, alimony pendente lite is the exception to that general rule. It is a reflection of the law’s recognition that the financial need that may merit granting of alimony payments after the divorce is finalized may very well begin while divorce proceedings are pending. Alimony pendente lite is granted so that the lower earning spouse can continue to pay the bills and live at the financial status quo established during the marriage while divorce proceedings are pending. Divorce can be, after all, an expensive time on top of the already every day bills that will continue to roll in.

In deciding whether or not to award alimony pendente lite, the court will consider the financial needs of the spouse who is requesting it. Additionally, the court will consider the circumstances of the spouse who would be required to pay the alimony pendente lite. Need and ability to pay will be big considerations in rendering a decision. The goal is to render a decision that grants financial resources to a spouse in need without jeopardizing the financial situation of the other spouse. An alimony pendente lite award must be reasonable under the circumstances. The award will end upon the finalizing of the divorce, but another type of alimony award may kick in upon divorce finalization.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Alimony can have a big financial impact on you for years to come. This is true whether you may be paying or receiving alimony. For guidance and advocacy on important divorce issues such as alimony, you can count on the dedicated family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou for help. Contact us today.

Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.