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Does Florida recognize temporary alimony in divorces?

If you are currently considering divorce, it's likely that your concerns for your financial future are second only to the care of your children. Most married couples pool their incomes when it comes to paying for housing, food, transportation and the majority of other necessities. Depending on the length of your marriage, it's likely that both you and your future ex-spouse have come to rely on those shared funds to maintain your current standard of living.

Fortunately, the Florida legislature has recognized that there are often large disparities in the amount of income some spouses contribute to their households. A good example of this might be a wife who works as a banking executive earning a six-figure income while her husband is currently not working yet, as he is attending school full-time. It's likely that in such a scenario, a divorce would leave the husband destitute.

For that reason, Florida currently has a law on the books that allows divorcing spouses to petition the court for temporary relief once divorce proceedings are underway. This is known as a "pendent lite" action. Pendente lite simply means pending litigation. It represents the court's ability to award temporary alimony to a spouse for whom the divorce has placed in a significant financial disadvantage.

It is important for you to know that having legal representation at a pendent lite hearing is crucial. This is true whether you are the spouse petitioning the court for alimony or the spouse challenging the necessity of that action. That's because a Florida family law court can consider many factors including the length of your marriage and the type of lifestyle you maintained throughout that union. Your attorney can advocate forcefully on your behalf as to why you should receive assistance from the other spouse or why that request should be denied.

Source: Legislature of the State of Florida, "61.071 Alimony pendente lite; suit money," accessed May. 28, 2015

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