Pendente lite means "pending the litigation." When the court makes an order, for example, for temporary alimony or child support, which lasts only until the date of a divorce trial or until the parties to a lawsuit work out a settlement, it is a pendente lite order.
Pendente lite should not be confused with lis pendens. Lis pendens also means pending lawsuit. But lis pendens is a document filed in the public records of the county where particular real property is located stating that a pending lawsuit may affect the title to the property. Because nobody wants to buy real estate if its ownership is in dispute, a lis pendens notice effectively ties up the property until the case is resolved. Lis pendens notices are often filed in divorce actions when there is disagreement about selling or dividing the family home.
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