Divorce and child custody matters are not always resolved quickly by New York courts. In some cases, it becomes necessary for a parent to file a pendente lite motion. Pendente lite motions allow parents to request an early court ruling on a pressing issue. By submitting a pendente lite motion, you can request that the court intervene in your case and issue a temporary ruling.
There are multiple requirements and conditions you must meet to file a pendente lite motion successfully. If you are involved in a divorce or child custody issue, and you need to resolve an issue immediately, CDH Law PLLC is here to help you. We have an in-depth knowledge of New York’s child custody and divorce laws. Our experienced lawyers will review your case and advise you on whether you can file a pendente lite motion. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can help you.
Filing a Pendente Lite Motion
Pendente lite motions are motions that request the court to intervene and rule on an urgent issue that cannot wait until the final ruling in your case. At CDH Law PLLC, we have helped clients file pendente lite motions in a variety of situations, such as:
- Your spouse is refusing to pay child support
- You are not able to pay for part, or all, of your legal fees
- Your spouse makes significantly more money than you do but is not helping financially
- You cannot pay expert witnesses needed to secure a fair portion of your marital property
- Your children are in danger due to your spouse’s behavior
- Your spouse is physically or verbally abusive
Obtaining a Motion
When disagreements arise during child custody or divorce cases, the first step is to attempt to come to a temporary agreement with your spouse or co-parent. However, when you cannot reach a temporary agreement, filing a pendente lite motion becomes necessary. There are multiple requirements for filing a pendente lite motion.
First, if you are involved in an annulment or divorce action, you must file the divorce or annulment petition before you can file a pendente lite motion. New York courts will not even address your motion unless you have begun the underlying divorce or annulment case. You can serve your spouse with the pendente lite motion and the summons for divorce at the same time.
If possible, you will need to bring the pendente lite motion before your preliminary conference, but New York courts do not make this a requirement to file the motion. You will also need to provide a net worth statement as an exhibit if you are filing the pendente lite motion because your spouse earns significantly more than you but does not contribute financially.
Motions Regarding Legal Fees
When you submit a pendente lite motion regarding legal fees, you will need to include additional information. Typically, those filing a pendente lite motion will do so because they cannot afford to pay their legal fees. First, you will need to attach a document that includes the amount of money your attorney has received. You will also need to include your attorney’s hourly rate, the amount of the legal fees you paid or the amount of the legal fees that are still outstanding, and any additional costs or disbursement. You also need to include the amount of money your attorney has promised to receive by someone other than you.
Pendente Lite Motions Related to Spousal Support
What happens when you file a pendente lite motion to receive emergency spousal support? New York judges will use a Temporary Spousal Maintenance Guidelines Calculator to determine spousal support for pendente lite motions. The court will enter the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s incomes. The formula also takes into account whether one spouse will pay child support and whether the payor is a noncustodial parent. According to New York Law, judges must consider 13 different factors when they decide to award temporary spousal maintenance if your spouse’s income level exceeds $192,000. After analyzing these factors, the court will decide how much temporary spousal support to award.
Pendente Lite Motions Related to Parenting Time and Custody
New York courts have the legal authority to award temporary parenting schedules and temporary custody under a Pendente lite motion. New York courts use a fact-heavy approach to decide on these matters, and the outcome of each case will depend on the unique facts of that case.
One parent may file a pendente lite motion when the other parent is depriving him or her of any meaningful access to the children. For example, after one spouse files for divorce, the other spouse may take the children to another home and refuse to let the other parent see the children under any circumstances.
Rather than wait for the court to rule on a final divorce and custody agreement, the parent who is being denied access to his children should file a pendente lite motion and request that the court decides on a temporary custody agreement. In most cases, Pendente lite motions related to child custody are reserved for serious cases involving domestic violence, or when there is clear evidence that one of the parents is being forced to remain absent from the children’s lives.
Contact CDH Law PLLC Today
If you are involved in a divorce or child custody matter and are considering filing a pendente lite motion, we can help. We have the experience and legal skills needed to effectively advise you regarding whether you are in a position to file a pendente lite motion. Contact the experienced lawyers at CDH law today to learn how we can help you advocate for your rights throughout this process.