temporary order

Family Law: What Is a Temporary Order?

You and your ex cannot get along. And you’ve finally decided that it’s time to go your separate ways. Trouble is, you can’t reach an agreement on the terms of the separation either. So, you ask for a temporary order.

One of the most common mistakes divorcing couples make is disregarding a temporary order. That’s a serious problem since temporary orders are designed to help spouses hold their own until a divorce is finalized.

Here, we’re explaining everything you need to know about a temporary order, including how it works, what it’s for, and how to ask for one.

What is a Temporary Order?

Let’s say two parents decide to get a divorce. Like many divorcing couples, they find that they can’t agree on exact terms for anything in their divorce. So, the divorce lawyers are called.

Then, the parent taking care of the kids realizes that they can’t afford extended legal fees while feeding and housing their kids. But they can’t take a divorce decision lying down either.

Or, the couple doesn’t have kids but they do have shared property that needs to be divided and living arrangements that need to be decided, choices that can’t be put off much longer.

Here’s the problem: most lawsuits take months, if not years, to make it to court. Divorces, especially cases where the spouses fight on every issue, are especially difficult.

This is where temporary orders can help.

What are Temporary Orders For?

Temporary orders are designed as a stopgap measure to help couples who can’t wait for the court to make a permanent decision about who gets the kids and who pays for what.

A temporary order can address several issues in a divorce. This can include child custody issues such as:

  • Who gets custody of the children
  • Who is responsible for paying child support
  • Who will carry health insurance for the children
  • Creating a temporary visitation schedule for the parent without primary custody
  • Whether a guardian is needed for the children
  • How extracurricular school expenses will be paid

It can also address property-related issues such as:

  • Which spouse will live in the marital home
  • Who is responsible for the mortgage and other shared bills
  • Who is responsible for credit card debts
  • Who drives what vehicle and who pays for what vehicle
  • How household belongings and items will be split

It can also be used to handle spousal support decisions.

Keep in mind, though, that a temporary order may not dictate the final divorce arrangement. The temporary order will remain in effect until the court reaches a final decision regarding the divorce.

Why are Temporary Orders Important?

With all of that in mind, it should be fairly obvious why temporary orders are important, especially with regards to child custody.

If the two spouses have an amicable split or can agree on several issues, that can help expedite the process considerably–they may even be able to avoid going to court altogether.

But if the two spouses cannot agree, they’re going to have to continue to handle joint expenses and responsibilities before their divorce is finalized. This is a tricky problem, especially if they cannot agree on the terms of support.

Unfortunately, children rely on their parents to care for them, and children are often the unintentional sufferers when divorcing parents cannot get along.

Even if a couple doesn’t have any children, a temporary order can be a lifesaver. Say that a couple bought a house together primarily on the salary of one spouse. If that spouse leaves, the other could be stuck in a home they can’t afford any longer or saddled with debts they can’t afford to repay.

In this case, a temporary order keeps that spouse from drowning in debt while the divorce proceedings continue.

When Should You Ask for a Temporary Order?

With that in mind, let’s talk about when you should ask for a temporary order.

When two spouses decide to divorce and one of them moves out of the house, you have two options: agree on how to divide child custody and shared expenses, or, if you cannot agree, ask a judge to make the decision on your behalf.

Most couples wind up with the latter option.

If there are critical issues you cannot agree on that can’t wait months, you should ask for a temporary order immediately. Especially if you’re the spouse who’s taking care of the children or saddled with the bills.

How to Ask for a Temporary Order

If it sounds like a temporary order is something you’re going to need, let’s talk about how to get one.

What You’ll Need

Before you ask a judge for a temporary order, you’re going to need a few things on hand, such as:

  • A request for the court order you want
  • A proposed temporary order granting the relief you’re requesting
  • A supporting declaration
  • A proof of service

In some states, your request will include an Application for Order to Show Cause and an Order to Show Cause. These are basic legal documents outlining what you’re asking for–you just need to fill in boxes.

You’ll also need a proposed temporary order. If the judge grants your order, they’ll sign the proposed order. The supporting declaration sets out the legal justifications for granting the order under penalty of perjury.

What to Expect at the Hearing

Once you have the necessary documents, you and your lawyer can prepare for the hearing. Usually, this is held within a few weeks of submitting the request, but in an emergency, it can be held in a few days.

This type of hearing typically takes 20 minutes or less. The judge will review the details you’ve provided, ask your spouse for their side of the story, ask a few clarifying questions, and (in child support cases) refer to the state’s recommended support guidelines.

After the hearing, the judge will issue a decision within a week. If your request has solid legal standing, they’ll either grant the order you requested or modify it somewhat. This decision will stay in effect until the divorce is finalized, either through a court decision or an agreement between spouses.

Need a Family Attorney for Your Case?

If it sounds like you might need a temporary order, then it’s time to find a family lawyer who can help.

We help you find a family lawyer, whether you live in San Antonio, Washington DC, or a totally different region of the country.

And if you’re still looking for guidance, check out our blog for more tips, like these eight signs you need a child custody lawyer.

domestic violence and divorce

Living Together While Divorcing: Should You Move Out?

While millennials get blamed for a lot, one thing they can’t be blamed for is a rise in the divorce rate. That’s because, between 2008 and 2016, the rate dropped by more than 18 percent.

Despite this, divorce is still occurring in an overwhelming number of marriages. And the overall divorce rate won’t matter much to you if your own marriage is coming to an end.

When a divorce is imminent, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make. One big one is where you’ll live during the divorce.

If you’re going through a rough spot, keep reading to learn questions you need to ask yourself before you decide whether living together while divorcing is an option for you.

Are You Safe in Your Home?

If you feel unsafe in your home, the answer to the question, “should I move out of the house before the divorce,” is simple; yes.

Maybe domestic abuse is the reason behind your divorce to begin with. Or your soon-to-be-ex has become violent now that he or she knows you’re leaving.

Whatever the case, if there is any chance that your situation may become physically or emotionally unsafe, it’s important to get out right away. Stay with friends or family if possible, as opposed to staying alone in a hotel, in case your ex does come looking for you.

If you need to stay in your home for any reason, you’ll need to figure out how to your spouse to move out during the divorce instead. This may require obtaining a restraining order against your spouse and getting a court order for him or her to leave the house so that you may remain.

If your spouse fights the restraining order and the order to leave your house, you need to decide whether or not you think it’s likely he or she will break the order. If you feel they might, it may still be safer for you to stay with friends and family rather than putting yourself or your children at risk by staying put.

Are Children Involved?

Divorce is always emotionally difficult. But when children are involved, things get much more complicated.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t get divorced if you and your spouse have children.

In fact, research shows that most children will adjust to divorce within 2 years. But children of parents who constantly fight and don’t get a divorce experience more lasting emotional problems.

However, there are a few things you can do to help make the adjustment to a separated family less harmful to your children.

Deciding Who Stays with the Kids and Who Goes

Both you and your spouse remaining in the home together is one way to protect your children. But this is only a viable option if you and your spouse are on good terms.

The last thing you want to do is expose your children to endless arguments. If you know that you won’t be able to keep your fighting from occurring in front of your kids, it may be best for one spouse to move out.

The other option is to keep your children in your home and have you and your spouse trade off who stays there, on a set schedule.

If you know that you and your spouse will be co-parenting after the divorce is finalized, this may be a great way to start practicing while also protecting your children from some of the trauma of your divorce.

However, if you can’t trust your spouse or if one of you won’t be around enough to care for your children on your own, this may not be an option. In this case, it may be best for the primary caregiver to stay in the home with your kids while the other moves elsewhere.

Minimizing the Effect of Divorce on Your Kids

Another factor to consider is whether you will be fighting your spouse for custody. If you think you may need a child custody lawyer because your spouse thinks he or she deserves custody that you don’t feel they should have, this can make living together tense.

You don’t want your children to see you fighting with your spouse over who will be caring for them after the divorce.

While you don’t want your kids to see you arguing, that doesn’t mean you should keep everything from them. Being honest with your children about what is happening is important. Give them notice before any big changes occur, like one spouse moving out.

This will give your kids time to adjust to the changes, making them easier to handle.

Is Supporting Two Households Financially Possible?

If finances are tight, there may be no point in arguing about who has to move out in a divorce.

If you and your spouse can’t afford a second household and don’t have family or friends one of you can stay with, you’ll both need to remain in the house.

Unless you are on good terms, you may want to set boundaries on your living situation. This could include setting rules about having guests over, assigning separate spaces for each of you to use, and agreeing to split costs like food and household items.

If you have children together, deciding to keep any arguments to yourselves is a must.

If you know your divorce is likely to drag on, you might consider selling your home to give yourselves money to buy or rent two smaller properties that you could live in separately.

Living Together While Divorcing

Whether or not you and your spouse will be living together while divorcing is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. You’ll need to consider your personal situation, your children if you have them, and whether it’s financially responsible for one of you to move to a second home.

But there are other parts of your divorce that you shouldn’t handle on your own.

If you and/or your spouse have decided to end your marriage, it’s time to decide whether you want the help of a lawyer to navigate the process. Click here to learn 8 reasons why a divorce lawyer might be a good choice for you.