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What is a pendente lite hearing in Virginia?

A pendente lite hearing is a hearing for temporary relief during the pendency of a divorce. It means “while litigation is pending” in Latin.

The Complaint

The initial plea you file with the court to commence a divorce is called a “complaint.” The complaint outlines that Party A seeks a divorce from Party B on one of several grounds and it asks for various relief. Once that complaint is filed, there is a hearing with the court referred to as a pendente lite hearing – or a motion for temporary relief.

What to Seek

Inside of a pendente lite hearing, you ask, at a minimum, for:

  1. Temporary spousal support;
  2. Temporary child support;
  3. Temporary custody and visitation;
  4. An injunction restraining the parties from disposing of any marital assets during the pendency of a divorce so that the assets can be distributed to the parties pursuant criteria contained in a separation agreement reached by the parties. On the other hand, if the divorce goes through trial, the court’s subsequent order entered after the trail;
  5. A mutual order restraining the parties from harassing each other at home, at work or on the streets;
  6. How cars owned within the marriage should be used/driven and by whom during the pendency of the divorce;
  7. Other unique forms of relief that are asked for on a pendente lite basis, or on a temporary basis.

Temporary to Permanent

What is important to remember about a pendente lite hearing is that which is temporary does have a way over time of becoming permanent. Mahoney Richmond puts a lot of work into the pendente lite hearing and preparing for it because we know that it’s going to be tone-setting.