Taken from Latin, the term "ad interim" literally means "in the time in between." It is used interchangeably with the phrase "in the meantime" or the word "temporarily," particularly in legal settings. It may also refer to an intervening length of time, such as the time between one event and another. When written, it is frequently abbreviated to "ad int."
In legal terminology, the most common use of the term "ad interim" is to describe the time between two events. This might be the span of time between the filing of an appeal and the actual date on which the appeal trial commences, or the date on which the appeal case begins and the date on which a judgment is rendered. The term is often used to specifically connote "between now and then," meaning the time between the present and a set specific date or event in the future.
It can refer to the time between the present and one or more alternate ending events. For example, the judge in a divorce case might find that a spouse that has traditionally stayed home with the family can, in fact, find work and should be able to do so within a period of two years. The judge might, however, specify that spousal support be paid by the working spouse to the non-working spouse "ad interim," meaning until the non-working spouse finds regular employment or for a period of two years.
While "ad interim" can mean "temporary" when used in this context, it should not be confused with the Latin terms "pro tempore" or "pro tem," which literally mean "for the time being." The difference is that "ad interim" refers to a time period which has a specific beginning and a specific end. "Pro tem" usually refers to the holding of a position for a temporary period which may or may not have a definitive end date or event.
"Ad interim" may also be used to denote a temporary state of affairs. Collateral, for example, is offered on an ad interim basis. In the case of a mortgage or auto loan, the creditor retains ownership of the home or car until such time as the debtor pays off the amount owed. Pawn shops are also examples of ad interim solutions. The shop holds an individual's property until such time as the amount loaned against the value of the property can be repaid.