Writ of Mandamus Vehicle for Pendente Lite Review

In Amberson v. Long, No. 2061191 Ala. Civ. App. (June 13, 2008), a mother appealed from an order modifying child custody. The father responded that “the order from which the mother appeals is a pendente lite custody order that will not support an appeal.” The mother characterized the order as a final, appealable "temporary custody award." The court of civil appeals explained that, "[a]lthough somewhat confusing, an order awarding `temporary’ custody can be either a pendente lite order or a final order. . . . The record reflects that the order awarding the father custody was, in fact, a pendente lite order. The case had been set only for a pendente lite hearing, no testimony was taken, the order does not resolve all the issues raised in the father’s modification petition, and the order itself indicates that it is ‘PDL,’ which appears to be a reference to the term ‘pendente lite.’ Because review of pendente lite orders maybe obtained only through a petition for a writ of mandamus, and because the mother did not seek a writ of mandamus, the mother’s appeal must be dismissed.”