Retroactive Pendente Lite Support Modification

During a divorce, the lifestyle of the marriage must be maintained. The supported spouse cannot be cut off financially. When a supported spouse is cut off, they can file an application for pendente lite (Latin for “awaiting the litigation”) support. When pendente lite support awards are issued, they are temporary in nature. Because they are temporary in nature, they are always subject to modification as well.

In the case of Mallamo v. Mallamo, the Court held that pendente lite support awards are subject to retroactive modification at the conclusion of trial. This means that if it is determined that your initial pendente lite award was not sufficient, it can be modified all the way to the original filing date.

The reason given in Mallamo that a pendente lite award can be retroactively modified is because initial support awards are given based on incomplete information. Often, pendente lite support is given based on one affidavit and a Case Information Statement. After there has been a complete trial with testimony, evidence and cross-examination, the judge is now in a much better position to assess the financial situation of the parties. The judge should now have almost a complete picture of each parties’ budget, needs and ability to support themselves and the other party. If based on this new complete information, the judge believes that the temporary pendente lite support award was not sufficient, pursuant to Mallamo, it can be modified retroactively to what the true award should be. The idea is that had the judge had this complete picture of the financial situation of the parties when the initial motion was filed, the pendente lite support would have been greater. Since the Family Court is a court of equity, this is the fair result. A Mallamo modification could result in one party receiving a substantial amount of money in back support at the conclusion of trial.

Contact The Bronzino Law Firm to Learn More About Your Legal Options

If you feel that a divorce is on the horizon or you are in the middle of a divorce and wish to learn more about your legal rights and options, it is critical that you speak with an attorney who has the skills and experience necessary to effectively represent your interests. Our highly seasoned New Jersey family law attorney provides each and every prospective client with a free consultation in our conveniently located Brick, New Jersey office. We invite you to call us locally at (732) 812-3102. We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.