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What is a Pendente Lite Hearing?
"Pendente lite" is Latin for "pending litigation" and refers to temporary relief the Court can award to spouses while their divorce litigation is pending.
A pendente lite hearing is typically scheduled within 3-4 months of the filing of the initial Complaint. At the hearing, the Court can award temporary relief to either party, including visitation, child support, alimony, attorney's fees, litigation costs, maintenance of health insurance and use and possession of the family home (if residential custody is not disputed).
In Montgomery County, a pendente lite hearing is heard before a Family Division Master in the Circuit Court, who makes recommendations to a Judge. Either party may file exceptions if they object or disagree with the recommendations. The exceptions are then ruled upon by a Judge.
Once a pendente lite order is issued by a Judge, it will stay in effect until the parties' custody trial and/or divorce trial.
Alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis in Maryland. The court decides the amount and duration of spousal support, based on what it considers a fair and equitable award for both parties.
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Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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