Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What If I Feel I Am Unable to Survive Financially During the Divorce Proceedings?

If you believe that you do not have enough money to live on during the proceedings, and your spouse earns enough money to support you financially, you can seek a hearing on temporary relief.  The court can order your spouse to pay you during the pendency of the proceedings.  There are various forms of temporary relief from the court; however, this discussion will address temporary alimony/spousal support/maintenance.
            You can ask for temporary financial support when you file your complaint or petition or you can request it by motion after you file your initial pleadings.  However, you should ask your attorney to discuss with you the practical aspects before you file.  A temporary relief hearing is a mini-trial.  Temporary relief that is unlikely to be granted should not be requested.  It may look like the request was not filed in good faith, and it is a waste of judicial resources.  It may also set the tone of the case, so avoid it if unnecessary and focus on other matters that are worthy of attention. 

            Generally, the court can order temporary alimony if one souse has a need and the other spouse has the ability to pay.  The court has wide discretion in awarding temporary alimony, and it may take into consideration the standard of living during the marriage and marital misconduct such as adultery and domestic violence, among other factors.  Financial disclosure is needed for the court to order an award.  A financial statement detailing monthly expenses with accompanying pay subs, W2s, and tax returns should be produced by both spouses to aid the court in making a determination.  The spouse seeking relief to preserve the status quo during divorce proceedings, for example, making sure necessary household expenses are paid, must present evidence of income and expenses.  Again, this is a temporary order, and the spouse in need should not rely on receiving the same amount at the time the divorce. 

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