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How temporary orders work when you're getting divorced

You've finally made the difficult decision to get a divorce. So, what happens next?

The decision to divorce brings almost instant instability. Suddenly, the status quo is interrupted and everything from your finances to your relationship with your children is suddenly thrown into question.

This is where temporary family law orders come into play. Temporary orders are designed to give you and your family a sense of continuity and stability while you are going through a divorce.

What kinds of things can temporary orders accomplish?

Temporary orders can be used to establish some rules while the difficult negotiations surrounding your divorce are hammered out. They can be used to:

  • Give one spouse the exclusive use of the home or car
  • Establish the temporary custody arrangements for the children
  • Create a parenting plan that allows for visitation
  • Establish a child support obligation and initiate payments
  • Provide interim spousal support for a financially dependent spouse
  • Order one party to continue paying the health and life insurance premiums for the other party and the dependent children
  • Prevent either spouse from disposing of any valuable property or assets

Most of the time, temporary orders are accomplished fairly quickly, so it's important not to assume that the orders in the final divorce decree will look the same -- particularly where custody and support are concerned.

How do you obtain temporary orders?

You have to file a motion with the court that's separate from your divorce petition. You have to specifically tell the court what temporary orders you would like to see put in place -- so you may need to submit additional material for the court to consider. For example, if you want a parenting plan, it's important to have one ready for the court to consider.

It's important to realize that your spouse may push back against your request for temporary orders. The conflict over temporary orders can be just as intense -- if shorter -- than the conflict in the divorce itself.

If you want to obtain temporary orders that can help ease the road to your divorce, a family attorney can guide you through the process.

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