Alimony pendente lite is alimony paid after a couple separates until the divorce is final. It is designed to provide support during the divorce process so each spouse can maintain his or her standard of living. Alimony pendente lite is also referred to as temporary alimony or temporary spousal support.

Facts about alimony pendente lite

When a couple separates, their financial situation changes. A spouse may have basic expenses, such as a mortgage, that he or she can't afford alone. Alimony pendente lite helps a spouse cover expenses and maintain his or her former lifestyle until the divorce is settled. The spouse with the greater income may provide a monthly payment or pay the necessary bills. Alimony pendente lite may also be used to help pay the dependent spouse's legal fees.

Pendente lite is Latin for "pending legislation." As the name suggests, alimony pendente lite legally ends when a divorce is final. However, alimony pendente lite often becomes the alimony awarded in the divorce settlement.

How alimony pendente lite is determined

The amount of alimony pendete lite is determined by the couple's current situation. A court looks at the needs of the dependent spouse, the means of the supporting spouse, and the amount required for each spouse to continue living as they had during the marriage. The amount awarded should be enough so that each spouse can live equally comfortably until the divorce is final.

If you seek alimony pendente lite

You and your spouse can come to a voluntary agreement regarding alimony pendente lite. You may negotiate a set monthly amount or divide up expenses. Your lawyer should review your agreement before you sign to make sure the conditions are fair. Once a judge signs the agreement, the terms are binding.

If your spouse provides little or no support, the court can order an alimony pendente lite award. You must file an application for temporary alimony and provide documentation of your income, expenses, and way of life. Generally, the court reviews your information and makes a decision within a few months of your initial application.

Additional resources:

Divorce Net: Pendente Lite (Interim) Support in Divorce

About.Com: Why are Temporary Court Orders Issued During a Divorce?

Related Legal Guides:

Paying Alimony

Alimony Termination

Alimony Modification