Individuals going through divorce in Virginia will often ask themselves thousands of questions as they tread down the path of separation. One common concern that arises is, broadly speaking, TIME. Most people tense up when they hear how long it can take for a divorce to be finalized—once separation begins, a year or more is the norm.
“What do I do until then?” is an incredibly daunting thought. The “what-ifs” are bound to circle around in your head: what if my husband doesn’t provide any support; what if my wife keeps coming around my residence, or removes me from the health insurance policy . . . and so on.
Temporary Orders in Virginia Divorce Cases
While your circumstances will dictate what your best options are during a separation period (and because of that, it is important to speak with an attorney directly to determine your best course of action), it is helpful to know that you might be entitled to receive temporary relief from the Court.
Once a Divorce has been filed, you may ask for a hearing with the Court to enter a temporary order. This hearing is called a Pendente Lite hearing. This latin phrase means “pending the litigation” (per legaldictionary.com).
Thankfully, our Virginia legislature has kindly recognized that temporary relief is important. In Virginia Code Section 20-103, the legislature has given Judges the authority to make various rulings while the case is pending.
Common Pendente Lite Requests:
- Temporary child and spousal support
- Temporary custody of your minor children
- Temporary use and possession of the marital residence
- Order prohibiting the dissipation of marital assets
- Order requiring a spouse to pay joint debts
- Order requiring a spouse to provide health insurance coverage
- Temporary award of attorney’s fees
The Court may also punish a party for contempt if they choose to disobey a Court Order while the case is pending. The purpose of this code section, and of the Pendente Lite hearing, is to provide a party with protection during what can often be a very lengthy divorce process.
If you have additional questions about Divorce, or Pendente Lite hearings, call BoykoNapier at (804) 658-3418, or contact us via email, and speak with an experienced Virginia Family Law Attorney today.