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Seeking temporary orders before your divorce

Whether you have been thinking about divorcing your spouse for months or your spouse recently dropped the bomb on you and asked for a divorce, there are certain actions you would be wise to take sooner rather than later to protect your rights. No matter how amicable you and your spouse intend to make your divorce, the fact is that some issues cannot wait for a settlement or court order.

If you and your spouse cannot arrive at a resolution to these issues, you may want to consider seeking temporary court orders. These orders resolve critical issues quickly so you can focus on your future.

What are temporary orders?

When a spouse introduces the topic of divorce, it raises many questions. Who will live in the house? Where will the children stay? How will you pay your bills? You may also have concerns that your spouse may try to hide money from your joint account or sell property you own together. You need answers to these and other questions, and the settlement or divorce ruling may be months down the road.

By seeking temporary orders, you and your spouse may be able to come before a Texas family court judge within a few days. A judge will typically rule that no major changes to your finances — such as selling property, opening new lines of credit or removing large sums from bank accounts — may occur until you have reached a settlement. Temporary orders also focus on these major issues:

  • Child custody and visitation schedules
  • Child support
  • Other issues related to the well-being of the children
  • Division of financial responsibilities such as mortgage payments and utilities
  • Separation of vehicles
  • Residency, including who is responsible for repairs and maintenance on the home
  • Spousal support, if relevant

While temporary orders are not meant to carry over into a permanent divorce order, they often form the basis of a divorce decision. This is not the time to be submissive to your spouse's requests, but to speak up for a resolution you can live with for the long-term. You certainly don't want temporary custody orders to become permanent if it means not having sufficient time with your children.

If the terms of the temporary order seem to provide stability for you and your children, a judge is more likely to allow those orders to remain in effect. This is why it is critical to prepare for your temporary orders hearing by listing what you hope to achieve. Your attorney can assist you with this and advocate for you throughout the process.

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