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Seeking temporary orders ahead of your divorce

You and your spouse have decided to divorce. It may seem like your life has come to a halt while the rest of the world continues to turn. Your children still need your attention, and your bills still require payment. Meanwhile, you may not want to stay in the same house with your soon-to-be ex, so there may be extra living arrangements to consider.

It would be easy for these issues to add to the conflict and tension in your family. Many spouses find themselves grabbing for assets or claiming their territory in the face of a looming divorce. This is why Texas family courts make temporary orders for families in these types of troubling situations.

The importance of clarity in your temporary orders

If you and your spouse are ready to separate, it may be in your best interest to request a hearing for temporary orders. Often, the courts see these situations as urgent, so they schedule hearings as quickly as possible to protect you from an escalation of conflict in your home. The rulings made during these hearings are not necessarily the orders that you will have in your final divorce settlement. They merely provide a quick resolution to critical questions to carry you through until your divorce proceedings begin.

Decisions come quickly during a hearing for temporary orders, so there is little time to consider what you want from the court. It is a good idea to plan ahead and have experienced legal counsel to advocate for your interests. In issuing temporary orders, the court will decide on questions like:

  • Who will live in the home during the separation?
  • Who will have possession of the family vehicles?
  • Will someone pay child support and/or spousal support?
  • How will parenting time be scheduled?
  • Will there be restrictions on you and your spouse with regard to selling assets?
  • Do you need restraints on your ex (from contacting you or being near you)?

Be careful and strategic now to prevent problems later

While these orders are temporary and made in haste, they often become the starting point for the terms of a permanent divorce settlement. It is important that your temporary orders reflect as closely as possible what you hope to achieve in your final settlement.

This may best be accomplished through negotiation directly with your spouse. However, it is essential that you put in writing any terms to which you and your spouse agree. Without a signed agreement, you may find yourself in a difficult situation if your spouse denies that he or she agreed to your actions. Having an attorney with you when you make such arrangements will allow you to ensure the language is clear to avoid confusion when you present it to the court.

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