PENDENTE LITE FINANCIAL MATTERS ARE HEARD BY THE MAGISTRATE.
Alimony pendente lite, child support pendente lite, pendente lite custody or visitation, and preliminary or pendente lite possession or use of the family home or family-use personal property, are to be referred to the magistrate as of course, together with counsel fees and assessment of court costs in any proceeding referred to a magistrate.
If a magistrate finds that “extraordinary circumstances” exist and recommends that an order be entered immediately, “the court shall review the file and any exhibits and the master’s
findings and recommendations and shall afford the parties an opportunity for oral argument. The court may accept, reject, or modify the master’s recommendations and issue an immediate order.1
An immediate order remains subject to a later determination by the court on exceptions.
ALIMONY PENDENTE LITE
The court may award alimony pendente lite to either party.
Definition. “An allowance made pending a suit for divorce or separate maintenance,
including a reasonable allowance for preparation of the suit as well as for support.” Mavnard v.
Mavnard. 42 Md. App. 47,49, 399 A. 2d 900,901 (1979), citing Black’s Law Dictionary (4th ed.,
1951). An award of alimony pendente lite is a monetary payment pending the outcome of litigation which has been instituted but which has not been concluded. Id.
Purpose. The purpose of a pendente lite alimony award is “to maintain the status quo of
the parties so the wife [or husband] would not suffer financial hardship” pending final resolution of
the divorce proceedings. The sole object of an alimony award is to provide “for food, clothes, habitation and other necessities” where the requesting party does not have the ability to provide for him or herself. Also temporary support may include the right to claim education expenses to move
one on the road to rehabilitation or to become self-supporting.
1. Prima facie case:
The applicant for the allowance must show, at least prima facie * * * in order
to obtain an allowance pendente lite of temporary alimony, allowance for support of
children, and/or suit money, including counsel fees,
(1) the pendency of the matrimonial action in which the allowance is sought;
(2) the existence of a marriage between the parties;
(3) a probable cause of action or defense on the part of the applicant, with reasonable
probability of success of the applicant on trial;3
(4) financial inability of the wife [or husband] to support herself [or himself]
and/or prosecute or defend the action; and
(5) the ability of the husband [or wife] to make the payments.
Mavnard v. Mavnard. 42 Md. App. at 51-53, 399 A.2d at 901, quoting Nelson on Divorce and
Annulment, § 12.24 (2d ed., 1945).