What is Pendente Lite Relief in Divorce and Custody Case in Maryland?

Temporary or Pendente Lite Relief can be requested by either party in situations where questions of custody, visitation and financial support (including attorney fees) are necessary to resolve before the full hearing or trial on these issued can be scheduled. Since it will take about 4-8 months to schedule a full trial on these issued the court may allow a short, one to 2 hour hearing before a magistrate to establish who should have custody of minor children, what child support should be paid and if attorney’s fees should be paid by one party on behalf of the other party. A request for Pendente Lite relief should be requested and granted when one party denies or restricts the other party’s visitation or access to minor children; when one party does not have the financial resources to pay a lawyer or expert witnesses or when one party wants to relocate or move the minor children from their current location. The hearing is requested at the Scheduling Conference; although in some cases may be requested prior to that date if there is a valid and compelling reason to do so. In most Maryland courts the Pendente Lite hearing will be held within 24-60 days of the request. A Pendente Lite request should be made a soon as possible after the filing of an action in the Circuit Court.

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