How to Get Alimony While Your Case is Pending (Called Pendente Lite Alimony)
There are three basic types of alimony you can seek in your Maryland divorce case:
* Pendente lite (during litigation)
This article addresses the first type: pendente lite alimony.
The judge in your case has discretion to award you alimony and money to pay your legal expenses while the case is pending. To get alimony pendente lite, you must prove that you need your husband's continued financial assistance to support yourself and to pay your legal expense and that he has the ability to pay. Alimony awarded at this early stage in the case is called pendente lite alimony. Pendente lite is Latin for “pending litigation.” The court’s purpose in granting you pendente lite alimony is to maintain the status quo between you and your husband pending the final resolution of your divorce action. Pendente lite alimony is paid only so long as the case is pending, and the amount awarded to you is based on your need and his ability to pay.
In order to get an award of pendente lite alimony, you will need to prove three things at the pendente lite hearing:
1. your marriage to your husband (a certified copy of your marriage certificate will be sufficient);
2. the pending divorce; and
3. the financial circumstances and resources of you and your husband, which establish your need and his ability to pay.
To prove your and your husband’s financial circumstances, both parties are required to complete and file a Financial Statement. Each party signs his or her Financial Statement under the penalties of perjury that his or her Financial Statement is true to the best of his or her knowledge, information and belief. For this reason, you should be prepared to put a good bit of work and time into preparing your financial statement, along with your attorney’s guidance. The Financial Statements permits the judge to determine your specific need and your husband’s ability to pay you each month a set amount of pendente lite alimony so that you can support yourself and pay for your legal expenses.
Maryland Rule 9-203 sets forth format for the Financial Statement, called the Long-Form Financial Statement, which requires you to list your and your children’s expenses on a monthly basis, together with your income (if any) and your assets and liabilities.
In addition, to the Financial Statements, there are other documents pertaining to income and other financial resources which are usually important and considered by the Court at the pendente lite hearing. These include: Federal and State income tax returns, payroll records, investments, bank accounts, statements of monthly debt payments (e.g., credit cards, mortgage, etc.) and your attorney’s fee and legal expenses to date.
If you need help with an alimony claim, we would be happy to schedule a consultation.