Pendente Lite Law and Legal Definition

Pendente lite refers to an order which is in effect awaiting the litigation (lawsuit). It is often used in divorce law to refer to to court orders such as temporary child support or alimony which are in effect until the case is tried, or rights which cannot be enforced until the lawsuit is over. Pendente lite matters are contingent on the outcome of the underlying litigation. Sometimes a party is required to deposit funds with the court pending the outcome of the lawsuit. If the depositing party loses the lawsuit, the funds are paid to the opposing party.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with pendente lite:

"§ 3702. Alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expenses.

In proper cases, upon petition, the court may allow a spouse reasonable alimony pendente lite, spousal support and reasonable counsel fees and expenses. Reasonable counsel fees and expenses may be allowed pendente lite, and the court shall also have authority to direct that adequate health and hospitalization insurance coverage be maintained for the dependent spouse pendente lite."