Temporary orders are a staple of any divorce case that is filed in Texas. Temporary orders are not required to be established by the court, but in situations where the divorcing spouses cannot agree upon the terms of this order, a judge can make the final decision. There are many benefits to having one of these agreements and can make the divorce process less contentious and more efficient. An Austin temporary divorce order lawyer can help you negotiate the terms of your agreement.

What is a Temporary Divorce Order?

Temporary orders are either issued by a judge or negotiated by the divorcing parties. This document governs the parties’ behavior while their divorce is pending. Once two spouses file for divorce, their case can be pending for many months, perhaps even a year or longer. During that period, the two parties may need to have orders in place that govern how the parties should behave and interact while they are transitioning from a married couple to two individuals.  One of the main provisions within these agreements is the use of marital property. Temporary divorce orders may address issues including who will have the exclusive right to occupy the marital residence, use of automobiles, and how payment of household bills will be allocated between the parties.

If the spouses share a child, a temporary divorce order may determine the visitation arrangement and if any child support is going to be paid and by whom. If the parties cannot agree on these issues, then they will have a hearing before a judge. This is an important part of a case with respect to child custody because it establishes a precedent that will likely carry over to the final divorce decree. For instance, if one party prevails in getting temporary primary custody at temporary orders, then a similar outcome is likely at the final trial. A lawyer in Austin can explain the various terms that may be beneficial to include in a temporary divorce order.

How Common are Temporary Orders in Austin Divorce Cases?

Temporary orders are fairly common, but they do not happen in every case. Generally, we see temporary orders in cases that are more contentious. In low-conflict cases where the parties are in agreement on the issues, they may have an agreed temporary order, or the spouses may just elect to continue whatever arrangement they were following prior to filing for divorce. It is important to note that temporary orders are not a required step in the divorce process. Temporary divorce orders are typically triggered in contentious cases where there are significant disagreements over property and children.

Requesting a Temporary Divorce Order

A spouse requests a temporary order by filing a motion. The request can be filed via an independent standalone motion seeking temporary orders, or it can be included in the divorce petition. This request must spell out with some degree of specificity what exactly the spouse is asking the court to order in this document. For example, a motion for temporary orders can include a request that the wife or husband have exclusive use of the marital residence. Alternatively, one spouse may request that the other party be ordered to pay child support. Other requests include requests for drug or alcohol testing, psychological evaluations, or appointment of a child custody evaluator. An attorney in Austin could help one spouse file a request for a temporary order either in a standalone motion or in the divorce petition.

What is an Order to Show Cause?

An order to show cause requires the respondent to appear before the court at a specific date and time for a temporary order hearing. Show cause orders are generally issued in emergency situations. For example, if there is family violence or a volatile dynamic in the home, this could constitute an emergency situation.

Usually, when a divorce petition is filed, the responding spouse has 20 days to respond to the petition. We typically see a show cause order when somebody files a divorce petition and includes an order requiring the other party to show up in court for a temporary order hearing before the 20-day deadline. Another example that could trigger a show cause is if the parties are already living apart, and one spouse is denying the other access to a shared child. We may see a show cause order to get in front of a judge quickly so that a spouse can establish orders regarding visitation.

Duration of Temporary Divorce Orders

Temporary orders last until either the case ends either via a mediated settlement agreement or a final trial. Temporary orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances during the case. It is important to note that temporary orders can be extended into permanent agreements, particularly in the child custody context. It is not unusual for the orders that are established at temporary orders hearings to carry over into the final divorce decree either via agreement of the parties or by order of the court if the parties cannot agree. An Austin attorney can explain how temporary divorce orders work and what to expect while they are in effect.

Contact an Austin Temporary Divorce Order Attorney

There are many moving parts to consider when going through marriage dissolution. A temporary divorce order can bring peace of mind by clarifying the parties’ rights and obligations during the case. Contact an Austin divorce lawyer to help you navigate this critical phase of your case.