You don’t need your divorce attorney to tell you that divorce proceedings aren’t fun, and the time associated with the entire process can seem like an eternity. When all you want to do is cut ties, you’ve got that whole “time” thing that has to take place while the court, your divorce attorney, her attorney, her dog’s attorney, etc. work out the details of the divorce. Meanwhile, as you try to straighten out life on your own again, there are some very real questions and concerns you should be addressing:
What about my kids?
Who gets the house temporarily?
Who pays the mortgage?
These are all things a Pendente Lite hearing can answer. Here’s the skinny on a Pendente Lite hearing in Virginia and what you should know.
What’s the Meaning of Pendente Lite, Anyway?
Pendente Lite, a Latin term which translates literally to “with the lawsuit pending,” is really nothing more than fancy lawyer speak for “during litigation.” Essentially, a Pendente Lite hearing helps set some ground rules between you and your wife regarding basic means such as housing, childcare, temporary custody of your children, and insurance, among other things.
Until the litigation in your divorce proceedings are final, a Pendente Lite hearing can prevent your estranged (or yourself) from pulling a somewhat underhanded move to make the others’ life more difficult. With this in mind, here are some rules you should follow when it comes to a Pendente Lite hearing:
Rule #1: Seek Sound Legal Counsel
Of course, depending on the nature of your separation from your soon-to-be former spouse, things may or may not be agreeable in the realm of what Pendente Lite hearings typically constitute.
The most important thing you can do is to speak with a competent divorce attorney to advise you on the best course of action. A Pendente Lite hearing will often be part of your divorce litigation regardless of the circumstances of your split. It is important for the court to set some preliminary ground rules during Pendente Lite to prevent any confusion between parties and to keep underhanded dealings from occurring.
Rule #2: Know What You Want
With your attorney, map out an all-inclusive outline of what you desire to attain from your divorce litigation. When it comes time for a Pendente Lite hearing, the things you want or need most will be put before the court and the judge. Pendente Lite is for temporary “spousal support” but can make a statement for final litigation and set tone for the future of the case. If child custody is a top priority, for example, showing this and being rewarded for it during Pendente Lite will speak volumes in the final divorce proceedings. But make sure that your day-to-day needs are taken care of as well. Know exactly what you need to survive and strive to make sure you get everything you deserve during Pendente Lite, or you could be left hanging out to dry.
Rule #3: Understand the Scope of Pendente Lite
We’ve already touched on some of the basics for Pendente Lite, but there are several common requests you should be aware of going into a Pendente Lite hearing in order to adequately prepare yourself for the litigation. Of course, your attorney will advise you on how to proceed and what things should be addressed during these “in between” times, but it never hurts to be prepared with the knowledge of common requests. Virginia Legal Code 20-109 roughly outlines Pendente Lite, but here are some common requests (in English):
- Temporary child custody, also known as pendente lite custody, and/or time sharing issues
- Child support
- Restraints on liquidation of marital assets
- Temporary financial support for the spouse, also known as “alimony pendente lite”
- Maintaining medical and life insurance premiums and payment of healthcare
- Payment of joint liabilities
- Sole possession of joint home and vehicles
- Maintaining assets (rental property, vacation home, etc.)
- Legal counsel fees
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of Pendente Lite requests, you can expect that most requests will fall under the guidelines of the list above. Plus, it never hurts to be prepared when you meet with your divorce lawyer to discuss these matters.
Get Started on the Right Foot: Call A Lawyer For Men
Whether or not your wife is trying to “take you to the cleaners,” a Pendente Lite motion will almost assuredly be part of the ongoing litigation in your divorce suit. Being armed with the knowledge of what to expect from this hearing will be a valuable tool for helping you and your family law attorney make a rock-solid argument in the court.
Without question, seeking competent legal counsel is 100% necessary for success in the court room. Get in touch with The Firm For Men today by calling 757-383-9184 and get the advice you need from the only family law firm in Virginia representing men exclusively. We’re located in the heart of Virginia Beach, and proudly serving all of Hampton Roads.