A final divorce decree puts an end to your marriage. It outlines the agreements, rights and responsibilities of you and your ex-spouse going forward. A divorce decree typically addresses issues pertaining to property division, alimony, child support, child custody, and so on. However, if a divorce is contested, it can take several months or even years before your divorce case is finalized. Many family law issues can’t wait that long as couples often want to make immediate familial changes. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on certain issues while your divorce is pending, you should petition the court for a temporary order. Temporary orders are meant to preserve the status quo by providing some stability to what could otherwise turn into a difficult situation.
You should petition the court for a temporary order if you need an immediate decision from the court about any urgent family matter that can’t wait until the divorce is finalized. Because every case is different, temporary orders can include, but are not limited to:
- Temporary Exclusive Possession and Use of the Marital Home, Vehicle, or Other Property
- Temporary Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
- Temporary Child Custody and Visitation
- Temporary Child Support
What is Exclusive Use and Possession of Marital Homes?
During a divorce, parties often can’t decide who should remain in the home and who should vacate the home until the divorce is finalized. Exclusive use and possession of marital home allows one spouse to remain in the home until the parties either reach an agreement or the court decides at trial. If the court grants you the exclusive possession of the home, it means that your spouse is barred from returning to the residence – and vice versa. If there are kids involved in the divorce, the family court judge will likely award the home to the parent who spends the most time with the children. If there are instances of domestic violence by one spouse, the other spouse is likely to get the exclusive use of the marital home.
Spousal Maintenance or Alimony
Temporary spousal support is available to the spouse who can’t support himself/herself during the pendency of the divorce. Temporary spousal support is generally not awarded where both spouses can provide for themselves. If a spouse needs continued support after the divorce is finalized, the court will order short-term spousal support or permanent spousal support. When determining the amount of support, the court will consider several factors, including length of the marriage, financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, the ability of the payor spouse to meet his or her needs, the fault of either party, the age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance, and the time necessary to acquire education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to find employment.
Child Custody Arrangement
If the parents can’t agree to a custody schedule or set parenting times, they can petition the court to establish a temporary custody order. A temporary custody order outlines custody arrangements between you and your spouse until the divorce case is finalized. Like a final custody order, a temporary custody will identify the parent that will have physical and legal custody and whether one parent will have shared joint custody or whether one parent will have sole custody, and it can include a parenting plan for when each parent will have custody of the child. When awarding temporary child custody, the court must make its decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. In determining what is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider several factors, including the quality of the relationship between the child and each parent, the mental and physical health of all parties, the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child, the need to promote continuity and stability in the child’s life, the character and circumstances of all individuals involved and any history of domestic violence.
Temporary child support helps the custodial parent support the child/ren during the time between separation and the final divorce decree. When awarding temporary child support, the court will take into consideration each parents’ income, their assets and debts, the cost of health insurance coverage and other health expenses, and childcare expenses. Unless there’s a big change in income for one or both spouses, the amount of child support will likely stay the same between temporary and permanent orders.
Requesting a Temporary Order
Either party in a family law case can petition the court for temporary orders by filing a Motion for Temporary Orders. In the motion, you must specify why you need the temporary orders, and what you want the order to include. Depending on what relief you ask for, you will need to file additional documents. For example, if you are wanting temporary child custody or visitation, you will need to include a parenting schedule with your motion. If you request child support or spousal maintenance, you will need to file an affidavit verifying income and child support worksheet. Next, the court will have a hearing with both spouses present. The hearing will usually be scheduled within a few weeks of your request. After the hearing is done, the court will issue temporary orders that will typically last until you and your spouse settle the case, or until the court issues final orders.
Call Gordon, Delic & Associates Today!
Our experienced family law attorneys at Gordon, Delic & Associates understand the issues that accompany divorce and child custody. Our family law practice specializes in legal advice for clients seeking temporary orders. Because temporary orders can sometimes turn into permanent orders, it’s important to get good representation from the start.