One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process can be the time between the filing of the divorce petition and the entry of the Divorce Decree. Issues often arise during this time of transition that do not have simple answers. Here are just a few examples:
- Who will have temporary possession of the house?
- If one spouse moves out where will they live?
- How will two households be supported on the same income that used to support one?
- How will parenting time be divided?
- Who will pay what debt obligations?
- Should one spouse pay the other spousal maintenance or child support?
- How will attorneys’ fees be paid?
Unless you and your spouse can continue to reside together and maintain your marital status quo while your case is pending, temporary orders addressing the above issues may be needed. These orders can either be agreed upon by you and your spouse together or the court can issue such orders after a hearing.
Establishing temporary orders provides each spouse with a sense of certainty during this period of uncertainty. This allows you both to focus on the ultimate goal of resolving your case amicably and without a formal trial. Many times, temporary orders result in less attorneys’ fees being incurred overall, and may make issues less complicated at the conclusion of your case.
Although temporary orders define the rights and obligations of both spouses as the case is pending, they are not permanent and are not intended to prejudice the rights of either spouse at future court hearings. However, temporary orders can establish a manner of operating that could have a bearing on the ultimate results obtained in your case.
You or your spouse may also ask the court to order an equal division of your liquid assets (cash, bank accounts, etc.) prior to your case being fully resolved. The court must divide such liquid assets if one spouse requests, unless the court finds there is not “good cause” to do so.
A court might choose not to divide liquid assets at the beginning of a case if a dispute exists as to whether the asset is separate property or community property. This can also happen if one spouse might ultimately receive more than one-half of the asset, such as in the case of a business or home equity buyout.
Talk to your attorney about how best to structure temporary orders in your case. If you believe they will be needed, ask the court for a hearing to address this as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it can take weeks, if not months, to obtain this type of hearing.
Contact us at at Hallier Lawrence for more information. We can assist you in making the best decisions for your long-term happiness.