Divorces are often infamous for the length of time it will take to get a final resolution. Some divorces last months or even years before the spouses can get a final order that will divide their property, determine custody, or determine if spousal support is appropriate. In some cases, one or both spouses cannot wait for a final order to get some degree of relief from the court. In such situations, the parties may decide to file for a temporary order. In New Jersey, this is known as a pendente lite award.
A temporary order will allow a judge to make a temporary decision for such issues including child custody and visitation, spousal support, and division of the bills while the divorce proceeding is still pending. Parties can request that the judge intervene when they cannot come to an agreement on how to settle these issues between the time the divorce is filed and the entry of a final order. Unlike a trial to enter a final (i.e. permanent) order, a temporary order will be entered just by filing a motion. A judge will typically maintain the status quo pending a final order, which means the parties should continue to do what they did during their marriage.
A temporary hearing will often also set child and spousal support obligations. Both of these inquiries require the parties to present evidence of their incomes. In New Jersey, the parties must provide a Case Information Statement, which provides a snapshot of their financial circumstances. If one spouse has traditionally been a stay-at-home spouse or parent, the evidence may include what efforts or plans that spouse may have to start a career or obtain further job training. The judge will likely expect to hear what efforts that spouse has taken to accomplish those goals when the parties return for the final divorce hearing.
Spouses should remember that a temporary order is just that – temporary. Spouses should not expect that a temporary order will be what happens at the final hearing. Judges are simply trying to stabilize the situation and keep the status quo at a temporary hearing, unlike a final hearing which involves making an ultimate determination and could mean some big changes.
If you are facing a divorce, you need an experienced team to help you. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 and we can talk about your divorce and create a strategy for your temporary hearing.