Somerville Office

Temporary Orders Available During a Pending NJ Divorce

Whether a New Jersey divorce takes months or years, the parties may need temporary orders to settle issues on an interim basis until the divorce is finalized. The spouses can reach an agreement regarding the temporary solution or can ask the court to render a decision.

Temporary orders – called pendente lite – do not necessarily reflect the features of the eventual final orders.

Pendente Lite Orders Cover a Wide Array of Issues

In the span of time between filing for divorce and receiving the final divorce decree, couples do not typically live their lives as they did before the dissolution process. A legal framework in which to conduct themselves is a common need for divorcing couples.

Pendente Lite is a Latin term meaning “pending the litigation” or “awaiting litigation.” Pendente lite or temporary orders can answer these and other divorce matters:

  • Who stays in the marital home
  • Which spouse has possession of certain vehicles
  • Where the children primarily live
  • How much child support is paid and to whom
  • Visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent
  • Who pays specific household bills (mortgage, utilities, car loans, etc.)
  • Spousal support for a dependent spouse

Temporary orders can also order the appraisal of real estate and other assets. Temporary restraining orders can restrict the use of any marital assets outside of typical needs.

Consent Order vs. Judicial Order

Temporary orders are established through consent or the court. In a consent order, the spouses come to an agreement, often with the help of their attorneys. Their legal counsel then drafts a legal document describing the details. A judge will approve the agreement if it is reasonable. The agreement then becomes a temporary court order that can be enforced.

When divorcing spouses cannot agree on temporary terms, the matter goes to court. This process is usually more time-consuming than a consent agreement.

Each side must present financial documents and other pertinent information for the judge to evaluate. A hearing is scheduled for the spouses to explain their needs. The judge will analyze the needs of one spouse against the ability of the other spouse to pay. The standard of living during the marriage is also considered.

Enforcement of Temporary Orders

Temporary orders stay in effect until the divorce is finalized. Both consent and judicial orders are binding. If either party fails to uphold the order, the court has tools to compel their compliance. The offending spouse can be held in contempt and/or ordered to pay a fine and associated attorney's fees. They may also have to relinquish parenting time.

In extreme cases, a spouse who refuses to follow a temporary order can be sentenced to time in jail.

Impact of Temporary Orders on Final Orders

Final orders may or may not mirror temporary orders. Temporary orders can serve as a barometer of what is working and what is failing. Each side may argue for certain elements in the temporary orders to be continued or abandoned.

In divorce mediation, the neutral mediator can use the pendente lite orders as a baseline for discussion. Judges overseeing a litigated divorce will also use the orders as a starting point in their final determination. If the temporary solution is working well, the judge will typically keep the same arrangement in the final divorce orders.

Legal Counsel to Support Your Family’s Needs

The stress of the divorce process is exponentially more profound when there are financial and family matters that cannot wait for the final divorce decree. How bills will be paid and where children will live need to be addressed through a temporary solution.

At Lane & Lane, LLC, our mission is to help guide our clients through legal challenges that are both technical and personal. Our compassionate and strategic representation has helped Somerville and Morris Plains families successfully navigate divorce and other family law matters.

Put our 60-plus years of collective experience to work for you. Schedule a consultation by calling (908) 259-6673 or sending an online message.