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What does pendente lite support mean in a divorce case?

Pendente Lite is Latin for “pending litigation.”  Most people believe that there are only two types of support: child support and spousal support (also known as alimony).  While this is technically true there is a little bit more detail that needs to be explained.  What needs to be added is that the courts have the ability to and quite often make “pendente lite” orders while the case is ongoing.  What pendente lite support really means is temporary child and/or spousal support.  This is support that is ordered while the case is being litigated.  The Orange County Divorce Attorneys at Core Law Group are trained to calculate and litigate temporary child support and spousal support orders on behalf of our clients.

The purpose of temporary orders is to ensure that the out spouse is not without the basic necessities of life for themselves and their children.  Prior to the innovation or temporary support, it was common for one spouse, usually the wife, who was historically a homemaker, to be without necessities of life until the case was finalized.  This process took many months if not years.  To resolve this issue the California State Legislature wrote laws establishing temporary child and spousal support orders.

California Family Code §§ 3600-3604 govern temporary spousal support and child support. The family code indicates that in a divorce or legal separation or in any proceeding where the support of a child is at issue a court may order either the husband or wife to pay support to the other while the case is ongoing.

The calculation of the appropriate amount of temporary child and support is done through a mathematical formula that considers the net disposable income of the parties.  In the old days the formula was calculated by hand.  Today, most California courts use one of two computer programs to calculate the support amounts, either XSpouse or Dissomaster.   There are many factors the programs take into consideration when calculating support amounts; however, the most common factors are (1) the incomes of each party, (2) time share each parent has with the children (3) health care insurance costs paid by each party, (4) mandatory retirement payments and (5) Property tax deductions.  This is very different from how a permanent support order are calculated as courts cannot rely on the XSpouse and Dissomaster programs alone when calculating permanent support numbers.

The divorce attorneys at Core Law Group utilize the same programs as the courts to estimate clients expected temporary support orders.  This is done as early as the initial consultation, so our clients can have a clear financial picture regardless of whether they are the paying spouse or the receiving spouse.  The team at Core Law Group can be reached at 949-505-2479 or at www.corelawgroup.com.

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