What is a pendente lite hearing?
In a divorce or custody case, either party may request a pendente lite hearing for pendente lite relief. Pendente lite means “pending the litigation”. Accordingly, pendente lite relief allows either party to request temporary custody, access, child support, alimony, and other temporarily relief between the time the case is filed and the time of your final trial.
A pendente lite hearing is usually requested at the Parties’ scheduling conference. The specific pendente lite relief you are requesting must also be plead in your Complaint or Counter-Complaint. The scheduling conference is usually presided over by a family law Magistrate, who will schedule the necessary hearings and deadlines in your case. If requested, the Magistrate will schedule a pendente lite hearing which can range from a couple of hours to more than a day, depending on the issues.
At your pendente lite hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify and present evidence, as well as have witnesses come to court to testify on your behalf. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Magistrate will make his or her recommendations regarding the pendente lite relief requested. If you disagree with the Magistrate’s recommendations, you may file Exceptions to the Magistrate’s recommendations and request a hearing before a Judge for a final ruling. If you do not file exceptions within 10 days after the Magistrate’s recommendations, then the Recommendations will become an Order.
You will have an opportunity to revisit many of the pendente lite issues such as child support and alimony at your final merits trial; however, pendente lite hearings are an important part of the litigation process and give the party seeking pendente lite relief the opportunity to obtain relief before your final trial, which can take several months.
If you are seeking a divorce or custody of a child, and require pendente lite relief, you should seek counsel from a Maryland family law attorney. Call the Law Offices of Brandon Bernstein at 240.395.1418 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your Maryland divorce or child custody case.