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Temporary orders during divorce

Once you get through your divorce, you know that you'll get some final decisions from the court regarding how numerous issues will be handled -- including things like spousal support, child support, custody and the disposition of your property and other assets.

But, those final decisions may be a long way off when you've just started the process of divorce. What are you supposed to do in the meantime?

This is where temporary orders come into play. They can provide a certain measure of stability as you try to navigate your new reality before the divorce is final -- particularly where your finances and your children are concerned.

What sort of things can temporary orders encompass?

Temporary orders are usually directed at the most practical concerns. For example, you may ask a judge to issue temporary orders that:

  • Establish a custody arrangement for the children
  • Establish a regular visitation schedule
  • Provide you with spousal support
  • Initiate child support
  • Determine who has the right to use the family home
  • Give one spouse the rights to use the family car
  • Require the spouse currently paying for health insurance for the family to continue doing so until the divorce is final
  • Determine who has to cover medical co-pays and other uninsured expenses
  • Stop either spouse from dissipating or selling any of the couple's assets

It's important to understand that temporary orders may or may not actually resemble the final disposition of a divorce. They tend to preserve the "status quo" of a situation until both parties have time to address all the issues.

How do you obtain temporary orders during your divorce?

Spouse are sometimes able to work out all the issues privately or through mediation. If so, a written agreement can be prepared by a family lawyer that spells out all the negotiated terms of the agreement. If not, however, it's common to file a request in family court for one or more temporary orders.

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