There are many rules in our court system pertaining to the filing of pleadings. In order to start a divorce case in court, a Complaint for Divorce must be filed. The date the complaint is marked “filed” is generally the date we use for valuing assets and debts subject to equitable distribution. In order to obtain court-ordered relief during the pendency of a divorce case with regard to temporary child support, alimony, or other issues, a motion must be filed requesting such relief. Generally, relief is granted as of the date that the motion was filed.
In some cases we choose not to file a complaint right away, with the hope of settling the case prior to getting involved in litigation in the court system. In other cases, we may file a Complaint for Divorce in order to establish the cut-off date for equitable distribution, but our goal may be to stay out of court and try to settle the case without court intervention.