When a couple is going through a contentious divorce, one of the first things that often happens is a request for something called "temporary relief." Temporary orders are an integral part of the divorce process and serve to keep both parties on even ground for the sake of fairness.
What do temporary orders do?
Temporary orders can cover just about any situation under the family court's jurisdiction. They may:
- Determine who can stay in the marital home
- Determine who has access to family vehicles
- Decide how the family bills need to be divided
- Set terms for custody and visitation with the children
- Oblige one party to pay the other's legal bills
- Oblige one party to maintain health insurance for the family
- Address any uninsured medical expenses
- Require both parties to avoid depleting the marital assets and forbid them from destroying or selling marital property
In most cases, temporary orders seek to preserve the status quo that has existed up until the divorce is filed.
Why are temporary orders important?
Without temporary injunctions, one spouse (or both of them) may seek to deprive the other of their basic needs, empty the family bank accounts, cut off their medical coverage or worse.
Essentially, temporary orders serve to enforce a truce while the actual terms of the divorce are negotiated or settled in court. Since it can take months or years for a litigated divorce to work its way through the system, these kinds of orders provide some necessary stability.
Temporary orders don't always reflect the final divorce terms. Because they are often hastily imposed, it's normal for the final divorce orders to look somewhat different.
If you're concerned about what may happen after you file for divorce, talk to your attorney about temporary orders for relief. They may help you as you move forward through the divorce.