Pendente lite alimony is awarded temporarily to either spouse to pay for the divorce process. It does not determine permanent or rehabilitative alimony or whether alimony will even be awarded.
Additionally, neither “fault” nor the substantive issues of the case determine pendente lite alimony. The only considerations are the financial needs of the spouse seeking alimony and the ability of other the spouse to pay.
To obtain alimony pendente lite, the applicant must show:
- Proof of marriage to the other spouse
- The existence of a pending divorce
- A cause of action or defense with some chance of success
- Financial inability to support himself or herself and pay for the expenses associated with divorce
- The ability of the other spouse to make payments
In an alimony or child support proceeding, a court may order one spouse to pay for the divorce litigation costs of the other spouse, which is called suit money.
Expenses that may be covered include counsel fees, expert witness fees, vocational rehabilitation counselors, costs for private investigators, travel expenses, deposition costs, and court costs where “reasonable and necessary.”
In determining the amount of suit money, a court will look at the spouses’ financial needs and resources and the justification for the divorce.
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