As previously discussed in an earlier #FamilyFriday article, the Court, upon request, will schedule a Pendente Lite (PL) hearing while the parties wait for their final hearing. What happens if you disagree with the Court’s order for Pendente Lite relief? What if the Court denies any Pendente Lite relief? On this week’s #FamilyFriday article, the attorneys of ERA Law Group, LLC discuss the process for filing Exceptions.
As a reminder, Pendente Lite is a Latin term that translates to “awaiting/pending the litigation.” Maryland Courts use a Pendente Lite hearing as an opportunity to create a temporary order related to child support, custody, visitation, spousal support, and/or use and possession of the marital home while the parties await the final hearing on the merits. If you don’t have an arrangement, aren’t seeing your child, aren’t receiving child support, etc., you will want to be sure a Pendente Lite hearing is scheduled as soon as possible.
In most counties this hearing takes place before a Magistrate. A Magistrate takes the place of a Judge but don’t issue Orders. They issue Proposed Orders. At the PL hearing, the Magistrate will hear the case presented by both parties as to why there should or should not be temporary relief and, if so, how much is fair and reasonable. The Magistrate then states their finding and submits a Proposed Order. After 10 days, the Proposed Order is sent to a Circuit Court Judge for a signature effectively making the Proposed Order an Order.
Why the 10 days? At the conclusion of the PL hearing, both parties have 10 days to file “Exceptions.” Exceptions are written reason(s) why the Magistrate’s Proposed Order should not be signed by the Judge. For example, perhaps the Magistrate decided to award more child support than the paying party believes is fair. The paying party would have 10 days to file Exceptions detailing why the Magistrate’s ruling should not be adopted by the Judge.
The Exceptions process is very similar to an appeal and should not be taken lightly. There are many requirements involving the timing of the filing, the contents of the Exceptions, the timing for requesting a Transcript, the hearing, etc. By failing to file timely exceptions or abiding by the statute, you could lose your ability to challenge the Proposed Order.
If you disagree with the Proposed Order for Temporary Relief, call ERA Law Group, LLC ASAP at (410) 919-1790 and ask how we can help you get the relief you need!