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What can temporary orders do before a divorce is finalized?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2021 | Divorce

Divorce can be a lengthy process in Texas, especially if you have children. While many couples considering divorce would love to put the whole process behind them in a single day, such expectations simply aren’t realistic. It could take six months, 8 months, or in some cases even longer, to move through each step of the divorce process and receive the final court orders that officially dissolve your marriage.

While not everyone needs temporary orders, some parties find it difficult or impossible to manage or agree on how their time with the children will be shared, how to handle the finances and how to provide for minor children.  In these instances, court orders are necessary to put some kind of structure in place during the time between when one spouse files for divorce and when a judge ultimately finalizes the divorce.

Temporary orders hearings are available within a few weeks of filing a divorce petition. A party may request temporary orders if court orders are needed for support, help with payment of bills, managing resources and/or behaviors.  

Temporary orders can establish a short-term custody solution

If you have children, one of the most pressing issues can be where they will reside while a divorce is pending.

A temporary order can provide for where the children will primarily reside and a possession schedule for both parents so that everyone, including the child(ren) knows what to expect and arguments between parents over time with the children can be avoided.  Judges can even consider a unique schedule of one parent that calls for a highly customized possession schedule as well as addressing special circumstances, such as situations involving domestic violence, addictions, neglect,   Any of these situations  may result in a temporary order giving one parent supervised periods of possession or limited access.  The court and the parties can function under the temporary orders the entire time the divorce is pending but they can also be modified as needed (increase in time for one parent, removal of supervision, new days and times ordered for periods of possession, etc) and as are in the best interest of the child(ren).

Temporary orders can create support obligations

A spouse filing for divorce can request temporary orders for the payment of child support and/or spousal support. Temporary orders issued by the Texas family courts can create an obligation for one spouse to support the children or the other spouse during dissolution or to pay certain bills to ensure the community assets are protected and maintained while the divorce is pending.

Early support orders often reflect a cursory review of the family’s household circumstances, and the final order may deviate substantially from the temporary support orders issued.

Temporary orders can also help prevent financial misbehavior

Most counties now having standing orders that take effect upon the filing of a divorce petition.  These standing orders aim to protect the status quo, preserve the assets, prevent a spouse from taking on additional debt, protecting the parties and children from certain behaviors, etc.   A temporary order can take additional action regarding those things as parties agree or as the court deems appropriate while a case is pending.  For instance, some parties enter into an agreement on temporary orders to put their house on the market and the proceeds in trust until further agreement is reached or the judge rules on how to disburse the proceeds. Some parties agree to go ahead and divide or use a specific account and on how the funds will be spent.  A judge can also make rulings on issues regarding preservation of assets as needed.

Looking at your personal finances and a budget for living separately as well as your spouse’s likely behavior in a divorce situation can give you an idea of what kind of temporary orders may be necessary when you file for divorce.