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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.


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Maryland Family Law recognizes eight different grounds for divorce. Adultery, voluntary separation (for at least 12 months), imprisonment (with a sentence of at least three years and at least 12 months already served), and living separate and apart (for at least two years), are among some of the reasons. For the court to grant a divorce based upon any of these grounds, they must be proved in court through evidence and testimony.
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