Case Caption: Donna Slack v. Rudolph SlackCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2017-0033Date: 08/15/2019Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: 2019 VI 28Summary: Following this Court’s prior opinion in Slack v. Slack, 69 V.I. 567 (V.I. 2018), holding that the Superior Court had erred in a divorce proceeding by failing to explain its decisions on two issues – involving recovery of legal fees and costs, as well as refusal to recognize monthly interest payments on credit card debt as necessary expenses in computing an award of alimony and pendente lite support – that court on September 6, 2018 entered an order on remand explaining its decision as to each issue.  The Superior Court acknowledges that it failed to consider the request for recovery of attorney’s fees and costs under 16 V.I.C. § 108(1), which allows for such awards during the pendency of the litigation based upon the requesting party’s financial need. Thus, unlike the attorney’s fees provision in Title 5—which only allows such awards to the prevailing party at the conclusion of litigation—§ 108 allows the trial court, during the pendency of the litigation, to award a party in need a sufficient amount of funds to litigate his or her case. Because the Superior Court denied the present request for legal fees and costs solely on the basis of its determination that the ex-wife was not a prevailing party, without any consideration of her financial need at the time of the litigation, it abused its discretion and that portion of the February 10, 2017 order requiring each party to bear his or her own fees and costs is reversed; this matter is remanded for a determination whether the ex-wife is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees and costs under 16 V.I.C. § 108.  On the issue of alimony or pendente lite support, a party seeking such an award bears the burden of proving all elements of the claim, including, as part of demonstrating the need for alimony, establishing his or her necessary living expenses. Here, however, the ex-wife failed to introduce sufficient evidence to establish, beyond the level of speculation, that her monthly credit card debt interest payments constituted necessary living expenses rather than business expenses. Thus, the Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider those interest payments as necessary expenses for purposes of alimony or pendente lite support, and the February 10, 2017 amended final decree of divorce is affirmed on that issue.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion