What happens while the divorce is pending? How the bills will be paid?
A divorce can easily take 6 months or more, if the parties cannot agree and the court’s docket is so full that settlement conferences with the judge must be set months ahead. In the mean time, the parties need rules about how the bills will be paid, how time with the children will be shared, child support, attorney fees, holidays and temporary maintenance, if one spouse does not make enough to support themselves. These issues and more are resolved by setting a PDL (“pendente lite’) hearing, so the judge can hear all the facts in case and make temporary orders that will stay in effect until the final trial or a settlement.
The PDL hearing
In most cases one of the attorneys will file a Motion asking for a PDL hearing if the parties cannot agree on how the bills will be paid, how time with the children will be shared, child support, who will pay attorney fees, who gets the kids each holiday and temporary maintenance, etc.
if one spouse does not make enough to take care of his or her expenses until the trial and the other spouse won’t voluntarily agree to contribute part of their income, then a judge will order the spouse to do so.
These issues are set on the PDL docket to be decided by a judge after testimony is given in court by both parties. But in truth, there is rarely a hearing. Because the dockets are so busy, in my experience the judges will usually determine these issues in chambers after hearing the arguments of each attorney. If your attorney is the best prepared, and the one who the judge looks to for the full story and accurate facts, your attorney is going to be the most persuasive.
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The day of the PDL hearing the judge will enter an order as to all the issues before him or her. These orders must be followed by the parties or they can be held in contempt of court. Just as important, these orders could set a precedent as to child custody, child support or maintenance.