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Can I Get Support From My Spouse While The Divorce Is Pending?

I had a client with this situation. So, I thought I'd share the details to educate you on how this type of case typically works. "My spouse and I have recently separated. During the marriage, we split the bills 50/50. But now that we are separated, she decided to move out and stay with family. The kids are living with me, so we don’t have to switch their schools, but the problem is that I’m left with all the household bills and the kids and she feels that she doesn’t need to provide me any financial help. I can’t handle everything on my own. Is there anything I can do?"

In New Jersey, after a complaint for divorce is filed, a motion can be filed for “Pendente Lite” support. “Pendente Lite” is a Latin phrase that means “pending the litigation”. Many people don’t realize that you can request temporary spousal or child support to maintain the status quo until the divorce is finalized.

When you submit the motion, you will also be required to submit a case information statement. This document is the most important financial document you will file during your divorce. That’s because it sets the financial stage for the court. You are required to list each and every monthly bill as well as all sources of income. That is how the court determines whether there needs to be temporary spousal support to help with the marital bills. This is also how the Court determines whether there should be spousal support after the conclusion of the divorce.

Child support is more straightforward. The parent that the children live with is legally entitled to child support. In New Jersey, child support is calculated pursuant to the New Jersey child support guidelines. The court uses both parties’ income and there are certain credits and deductions that get factored in as well, including pension contributions, union dues, health insurance costs for the child. After all of that information is put into the guidelines, the guidelines spit out a number and that is the child support obligation.

Something important to remember, alimony also gets factored into the child support guidelines. The more in alimony received, the less in child support received.

If you are the parent the children are living with and the other parent is refusing to provide financial support while the divorce is pending, you can file a motion seeking Pendente Lite child support. If you need financial help paying bills and financially surviving while the divorce is pending, you can file a motion seeking Pendente Lite spousal support.

Do you have questions about your NJ divorce? Let’s schedule a consultation! Call me at 609-892-8773.

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