What Is Temporary Alimony?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Connecticut law gives the court the authority to award temporary alimony. The court can award this support to either spouse when there is a pending divorce, separation, or annulment, action.

But what is temporary alimony? What is its purpose, and how does it work?

Read on to learn more.

What’s the Purpose of Temporary Alimony?

The purpose of temporary alimony is to provide support to a (financially dependant) when the spouses are living apart prior to the final determination of their case. Temporary alimony is also called “pendente lite” alimony. Pendente lite is a Latin term meaning “awaiting the litigation” or “pending the litigation.” Therefore, pendente lite applies to court orders in effect while a divorce is pending.  

What’s the Timing for Requesting Temporary Alimony?

Generally speaking, Connecticut courts may enter an order for temporary alimony at any time after the Return Date. That said, there is a chance that the court may award alimony retroactively from the filing date of the motion requesting pendente lite alimony. The court may also give a spouse who voluntarily paid alimony retroactive credit for doing so.  In extreme circumstances, the court may be able to award alimony prior to the Return Date.

How Does the Court Determine the Amount of Temporary Alimony?

The “regular” alimony factors considered by Connecticut divorce courts include these elements:

  • The length of the marriage,
  • The causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation,

And each spouse’s respective

  • Age
  • Health
  • Station
  • Occupation
  • Amount and sources of income
  • Earning capacity
  • Vocational skills
  • Education
  • Employability
  • Estate
  • Needs
  • The award, if any, which the court may make pursuant to section 46b-81 (In other words, how the parties have agreed or how the court has decided to divide the spouses’ property is taken into consideration. Basically, there is an interplay between alimony and property division that we will discuss below.)
  • Desirability and feasibility of the custodial parent securing employment

When determining temporary alimony, the Connecticut court considers all the above factors except the grounds or causes for the divorce. This is because, in a pendente lite motion, the court does not consider or determine a case’s merits.

When Does Pendente Lite Alimony End?

The purpose of pendente lite alimony is to provide financial support to a spouse that needs it during the divorce. Therefore, temporary alimony ends as soon as a divorce is final. At the end of the divorce, the court makes the ultimate determination of whether that spouse will receive alimony post-divorce.

Pendente lite alimony orders may inform the court’s ultimate alimony award (or the spouses’ ultimate agreement), or things could take you in an entirely different direction.

Enforcing Alimony

Generally speaking, enforcing alimony orders is pretty straightforward. Either the former spouse made the alimony payment, or did not make the alimony payments.

Things get complicated when the alimony payor’s income is more complicated than standard W-2 income. For example, a business owner who has no (or minimal) W-2 income.

Generally speaking, the court doesn’t patrol when people are following its orders. In other words, that means we affirmatively need to bring the problem to the court’s attention. Frequently, we do this by filing a Motion for Contempt. A Motion for Contempt seeks that the court rule that your spouse was in contempt and order your ex to follow the court order.

The Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide

Alimony is one of the most important issues in divorces. And, it’s one of the most confusing. There are no set formulas or rules on (1) whether there will be alimony, and, if so, (2) how it’s calculated or (3) how long it will last. The good news is that this means there is tremendous flexibility to craft an individualized approach. In order to prepare to make solid and informed decisions, you need to understand how alimony works. Our Comprehensive Connecticut Alimony Guide tells you everything you need to know about alimony in Connecticut.

Next Steps

For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, check out our Divorce Information and Facts. If you have questions or want to learn more about how our team of divorce attorneys can help you with your divorce or Post Judgment issue, please contact us here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC