CAN SOME DECISIONS BE MADE BEFORE THE DIVORCE IS FINAL?
Long before filing for divorce, many married couples here in California begin the process of separating their lives. One of you moves out of the marital home, takes one of the vehicles and sets up times to see the children. This may work in the short term, but eventually you may need to make more formal arrangements in order to avoid any conflicts.
Even though you realize this need, you know it will take some time before your divorce issues are finally settled. Fortunately, you can ask the court to issue temporary orders to provide you and your future former spouse some structure until you finalize your divorce.
What can you address in temporary orders?
When you go before the court, you may ask the court to enter temporary orders regarding the following issues:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Parenting time
- Spousal support
- Disposition of the marital home
- Possession of a vehicle
- Uninsured medical expenses
- Health insurance
The court may also restrict either party from selling or otherwise disposing of marital property. If necessary, the court can also issue a protective order to keep one spouse from coming near or contacting the other.
What is the impact of temporary orders?
Even though these orders are only intended to be temporary, they often provide a guideline for the final settlement. Therefore, you need to take the time to consider what you want your divorce agreement to look like. If the two of you have significant disagreements regarding the outcome of the divorce or even about who gets to see the children on a particular day, the need for temporary orders becomes more urgent in order to ensure that your rights remain protected.
Even if the two of you agree on the above issues, it may be worthwhile to have the court issue temporary orders. This protects both of you in the event that negotiations take a turn for the worse. At least you have some preliminary agreements in place for the court to consider or to help you get back on track if you intend to continue using an alternative method of resolving your issues other than going through the courts.
If you believe that having temporary orders in place will help your situation, talk to an experienced divorce attorney about your rights and how the process works. In addition, going before a judge can be an intimidating experience, especially if it is your first time. Having someone by your side to calm your nerves and help you through the process could prove invaluable.