Upon commencement of an action for divorce, frequently the “non-monied” spouse will file a pendente lite motion with the Court. This motion normally requests temporary relief pending the finality of divorce. Typically, one will request temporary maintenance, temporary child support and attorney’s fees. There are other things a movant may ask for; however, these are the three major topics that are requested for relief. Unfortunately, temporary maintenance is not clearly defined, which leads to differing opinions as to what temporary maintenance covers.
Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(5-a) sets forth formulas in which the Court is to use to determine the presumptive temporary maintenance award. After determining what the presumptive award should be, if the Court wishes to deviate from said award, based upon the circumstances of the cases, it must explain why such deviation was deemed necessary. What the statute does not address is what temporary maintenance is to cover. Is it also to include basic living expenses? Ultimately, since the statute is vague and ambiguous as to this point, it rests upon the Court to which you are arguing your motion. Each case will produce different results based on the particular facts of the case, which will then be interpreted in the discretion of the Court hearing your motion. Therefore, in preparing your motion, it is imperative that you carefully explain to the Court all your needs to put yourself in the best position to obtain an adequate temporary maintenance award. Specifically request all desired relief and explain to the Court why both is needed.