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When can temporary orders help in a divorce?

How long will a divorce take? This is one of the most common questions that spouses have when they decide to end their marriage. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, there is no specific answer to this question. The duration of a divorce depends on the circumstances and whether spouses agree or disagree on certain matters.

It can take a while to reach resolutions on certain issues in a divorce, but many issues need to be resolved before the divorce is finalized. Thankfully, spouses can establish temporary orders or agreements to create rules and terms in the meantime while they navigate the divorce proceedings.

Orders for the interim can provide guidance for spouses

Throughout the process of divorce, individuals will negotiate the arrangements for the end of their marriage as well as their post-divorce life. However, the interim between the separation and the finalization of the divorce can feel uncertain if there are no specific terms in place for spouses to abide by.

Temporary orders can help spouses find some level of stability during this time as they move forward. It is most common for temporary orders to cover issues such as:

The terms of these temporary orders are only binding until the parties reach another more permanent agreement or the court enters an order, though spouses can choose to keep the same terms in place if they work well for their family. Temporary agreements may also give spouses an opportunity to see what doesn’t work well for their family, and make necessary adjustments from there.

When might spouses need temporary orders?

Divorcing spouses do not always need to establish temporary orders. So, when might they be necessary?

It might be helpful to consider temporary orders in situations where:

  • Spouses have children, and they can determine a temporary visitation structure and parenting plan
  • Spouses disagree on how to approach expenses or matters regarding shared financial accounts
  • One spouse knows they will not be able to support themselves financially during this time
  • The parties have a residence or other property that needs to be sold before they finalize all of their property division matters

It is possible for the agreement to be in the form of a contract that is signed by both spouses and notarized, or in the form of a court order that is signed by both spouses and then entered with their consent by a judge. Regardless of which form the agreement takes, this can be a helpful first step for parties in helping their family adjust to this new stage of life. A family law attorney can help explain whether a temporary agreement would be beneficial in your case, and can specifically advise you as to which form it should take.