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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses The Pendente Lite Hearing

Written by Amar Weisman » September 5, 2014 »

The divorce process can be quite long and extensive. In fact, depending on the parties and the complexity of their particular wants and needs, a divorce can drag on for months--especially if the parties are unable to agree on various divorce terms. Generally speaking, courts do not issue divorce decrees until the end of the process; however, there are times when certain issues arise that will cause the parties to seek a temporary order prior to the finalization of the divorce. This is where pendente lite hearings come into play, but your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer will tell you that Maryland courts do not automatically grant such relief--the requesting spouse will need to make a special request.

What is Pendente Lite?

Latin for "pending litigation," pendente lite relief can be sought for a number of issues that arise during divorces, such as child support and custody, alimony, and use of the family residence. Pendente lite hearings are typically scheduled within three or four months of the original complaint. Divorcing parties should keep in mind, though, that any relief granted during a pendente lite hearing will only be temporary and will be valid only until the divorce has been finalized. Simply stated, if the court makes a determination with respect to one spouse making child support payments of a certain amount during a pendente lite hearing, the amount paid could be changed when the divorce decree is made or the court may choose to incorporate it into the final decree, especially if neither party's circumstances have changed since the issuance of the temporary order.

Asking for a Pendente Lite Hearing

As your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer knows, once a spouse files for divorce, he or she can ask for pendente lite relief and schedule a hearing during which time he or she can present argument and evidence in support of the request. Requests are usually made at the time of the scheduling conference with the parties, which usually takes place early in the divorce process; but, the state of Maryland will allow for a party to ask for a pendente lite hearing even after the conference has taken place, should issues arise later on during the process.

Individuals seeking a pendente lite hearing must also demonstrate that the relief sought is proper under state law. This can be done through the submission of documentation, providing witness testimony or offering some other type of evidence to prove the case. The proof needed will vary depending on the type of relief sought.

The Hearing

In Maryland, a pendente lite hearing can be held by a court-appointed "master" as opposed to a judge. Still, only judges are permitted to issue orders. Ultimately, the master hearing the case will advise the judge of his or her recommendation after the hearing takes place, and the judge will issue the order based on that recommendation. On occasion, judges do conduct pendente lite hearings, but the process will still be similar.

If you have questions or concerns about requesting a pendente lite hearing as part of your divorce process, contact a Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC today for more information.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.