The Court of Appeals concluded that once the trial court found the parties' marriage to have been void ab initio - that is, void from the start, as compared with voidable through legal proceedings - and thus that the marriage conferred no legal rights on wife, the trial court was within its discretion to order the return of support paid pendente lite.
Appellant argued second that the trial court erred in ordering the return of pendente lite support because the trial court only had the ability to order the payment, and not the return, of temporary support.
Under the SSCRA's discretionary stay provisions, the court might have stayed the father's custody proceeding but awarded him temporary custody, based on an expedited pendente lite custody hearing before the mother's deployment and/or on substantive state law that presumes a natural parent is entitled to custody unless extraordinary circumstances exist.
Also, in balancing servicemembers' needs against their dependents' needs, courts may be willing to push the definition of a servicemember's "availability" under the SCRA's stay and default provisions, to allow for video or telephone appearances or to consider pendente lite issues, particularly regarding child support, on papers alone.
In contrast to Richardson, in which the divorce court merely implied who would bear the tax burden, in Jaffee a temporary order by the state court clearly showed the husband would be responsible for income taxes on his wife's "alimony pendente lite
," that is, alimony while the suit was in progress.