Pendente Lite Orders in New Jersey

During a divorce case, if requested by one of the parties, the court can enter an order which “temporarily” establishes a custody and parenting time schedule. The court can also enter an order which sets temporary financial provisions for spousal and child support. The purpose of any such order is to establish financial safeguards, and also to ensure that there is a plan during the pendency of the litigation and until more “permanent” arrangements can be made. These are referred to as “pendente lite” orders.

As a practical matter, the litigation attendant to the creation of these temporary arrangements, can sometimes not be paid the requisite attention they deserve because they are only intended to be a stopgap until later in the case. A litigant or attorney may take the approach that any unfavorable rulings can always be fixed later.

While it is certainly the case that any support, parenting time, and/or custody ruling, especially a temporary one, is always subject to modification, the practical reality is that many times a temporary order will end up becoming the permanent order. Simply put, that which started out as temporary becomes the status quo as a case wends its way through our divorce courts. And, once it is the status quo, institutional inertia could easily render it the permanent order.

If you are in the early stages of a divorce, come speak with a member of the Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP matrimonial team before you end up with a “temporary” financial and/or parenting time ruling that could become more permanent than you intend.