Separation Anxiety — How Do the Bills Get Paid if Spouses Separate While the Divorce is Pending?

During the pendency of a divorce, the parties are still considered married in the eyes of the law. Because of this, the income of both parties is considered for use to pay existing bills and obligations, including attorney’s fees. We generally encourage parties to work out arrangements to maintain “status quo” during the pendency of a divorce; however, barring agreement, the court will enter what are called Temporary Orders. In determining how to allocate obligations, the court will look at the parties’ incomes, assets and obligations.

If one party, after considering income (including, if applicable, child support from the other party), still has insufficient means to meet reasonable ongoing expenses and obligations, including attorney’s fees, the court may look to the other party to contribute in sufficient amounts to meet the need. These considerations are complicated when there are insufficient assets to pay for the needs asserted by both parties, and these cases must be examined on their individual facts.