Temporary Orders (Pendente Lite)
In San Diego divorce cases, family law judges have the ability to make temporary orders at any time before the conclusion of the proceeding. Temporary orders are referred to by San Diego divorce lawyers as “pendente lite” orders. It is important to note that temporary orders can only “exist” between the time a party files for divorce and when a judgment is entered in the case. This is because, unless stated otherwise by the court, all temporary orders are superseded by a judgment. A judgment can result in one of two ways:
- in the form of a court order pursuant to a trial or
- in the form of a Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) pursuant to the agreement of the parties.
During a divorce, both spouses experience a number of changes in their lifestyle. In a significant number of cases, one of the parties vacates the marital residence at or around the time of separation. This can pose an urgent problem if the parties share minor children. The divorce process can range in length from a few months to a few years. If the parties have children and cannot agree on timeshare, they will need court intervention prior to a final resolution of the case.
If divorcing spouses share minor children the parties can file a motion for temporary custody and visitation. Once this motion is filed, the parties will be required to attend mediation. After the mediator has provided a report to the court, the parties will have a hearing on this matter. At that time, the judge will make orders regarding physical and legal custody of the minor children. However, if the parties enter into a different agreement later or the judge makes a different order at trial, the later order will supersede the temporary one.
In many San Diego divorce cases, there is a disparity in income between the parties. This disparity can create a hardship for one of the parties if he or she vacates the marital residence and cannot afford to live on his or her own income or cannot afford to maintain the marital residence if the breadwinner spouse refuses to pay the community bills. After a divorce case is filed, the parties may file a motion to request temporary support orders from the court. This means that the court may order one party to pay child and/or spousal support for the duration of the proceeding. However, again, that support order will likely be modified at trial or by agreement of the parties.
Family courts have wide discretion to make a variety of orders in divorce proceedings, especially orders to maintain the status quo. San Diego divorce lawyers often get creative in their temporary requests to the court.
Don't settle for less when determining your rights. Please contact us if you are contemplating divorce, a legal separation, or annulment in San Diego. Nancy J. Bickford is the only attorney in San Diego County representing clients who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS), and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.