Cynthia Fox knows firsthand about how the uncertainty associated with a pending divorce can be unsettling to everyone, but probably is most frightening to the husband or wife that is totally dependent upon his or her spouse for their financial welfare, as well as the welfare of the children. And, for a spouse fearful for his/her physical safety at the hands of an abusive mate, this strain can make the prospect of divorce more than they are willing to face.
Not knowing how they will pay the bills, care for their children, or protect themselves and their children from a violent spouse, has kept many a husband or wife from taking that first big step and filing for divorce. The result can be depression and hopelessness because the person feels trapped in a loveless and dangerous marriage.
But there is an alternative. It is called a “PDL Motion”, which is filed with the petition for divorce or legal separation, or any time afterward, by either party. In it, one spouse can ask that the court order the other spouse to provide them with financial relief for their living expenses, support for their children, even pay that party’s attorney fees. Once issued, the order remains in place until further amended by the court, until the divorce is dismissed, or until the final divorce judgment is entered. (“PDL” is short for Pendente Lite, which is Latin for “pending litigation”.)
“PDLs” can also be used to prevent either party from seizing, concealing, transferring, encumbering or in any way disposing of any cash, other financial assets or other property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life. In other words, transferring the savings account to a Swiss bank or pledging the marital home as collateral to purchase a new condo would be prohibited.
In situations where one spouse is fearful of a physically or emotionally abusive husband or wife, the PDL can be used to exclude the abusive spouse from the family home or the home of the abused party. Additionally, the PDL can be used to forbid one party from harassing, abusing, molesting or disturbing the peace of the other party or a child.
PDL Motions Are Not Granted Automatically—Having a Good Attorney Helps
Importantly, none of these protections, nor the financial relief, is automatic upon filing the motion. The court must agree with their necessity and order their implementation.
Cynthia Fox brings the compassion, experience and skill required in dealing with these situations and in seeing that the appropriate level of support and protection is provided.