Your spouse was the household’s primary wage earner, and you’ve either stayed at home or only worked part-time so that you could assume more of the household duties and take care of the children.
Now, however, your spouse wants a divorce — and suddenly what used to be “household money” is just “their” money. You’re not sure how you’re going to pay the bills now that your spouse has abruptly moved out — let alone pay for a divorce.
Pendente lite spousal support may help
The New Jersey family court system operates under the presumption that it’s important to preserve the “status quo” of all parties in a divorce until important issues, like the disposition of the marital assets and long-term spousal support, can be decided.
In situations like yours, the court may see fit to order what is known as pendente lite relief, or temporary spousal support. If your spouse is willing to be reasonable, you can establish temporary relief through a consent order, or private agreement, that will then be given the court’s blessing and become an official order. If not, the court can enter an order for temporary relief on its own in response to your petition.
In determining the amount of temporary support that you’re entitled to receive, the court will look closely at the marital standard of living — with the idea being that you shouldn’t have to experience a dramatic change in your standard of living just because your spouse wants out.
Your temporary support order shouldn’t be taken as a reflection of things to come. The situation may change again once your divorce is final. In the meantime, however, you at least have some breathing room to make your plans and a way to pay your bills.
Don’t let the divorce process frighten you. The more you know, the easier it becomes to navigate.