Financial relief may be available while divorce is pending in Massachusetts

Divorce can be expensive and take a long time to get through. It can also create significant financial burdens for spouses who were not the primary breadwinner, and who are now forced to manage a household by themselves.

In some cases, it may be possible to get a court to order the other spouse to make temporary support payments while the case is underway.

Such an order is often called a pendente lite order, and it has two purposes: to help a financially strapped spouse keep up with expenses while the case is ongoing, and to prevent the other spouse from gaining financial leverage in the divorce.

The exact requirements for such orders vary, but they’re usually based on the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, the spouse’s current financial needs, and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

Typically, a spouse will have to provide documentation of income, assets, debts and expenses. Once the divorce is final, the temporary order will end, and may be replaced by child support or alimony payments.

In case you were wondering, pendente lite is Latin for “during a lawsuit” and no, it wasn’t a beer served at the Roman Coliseum.