Temporary orders are usually issued regarding child custody, child support, spousal support and use or possession of assets. They cover the time period between the time that the divorce petition is filed and the time that the judgement of divorce is issued. Orders of any type are legal matters requiring the attention of legal counsel. Wellspring Divorce Advisors requires all of our clients consult with legal counsel to make sure they understand their legal rights and obligations.
Divorce is not a fast process. It is a legal, emotional and financial process often lasting years from the date a petition for dissolution is filed. Because of the often long periods of time passing between petition and judgment the court is often asked to make temporary orders on certain pieces of the case. Temporary Orders are important from a financial perspective because they are designed to protect the parties from risks that appear during pending dissolution proceedings. Risks might include a full time mother and homemaker being cut off from family bank accounts and by extension unable to pay bills. They may be entered for the sole purpose of providing clarity and guidelines to parents as to their obligations to support minor children. There may also be reasons to make orders for a party to continue supporting the costs of a marital asset in order to protect credit scores. Temporary orders could also be used in situations where extensive financial data gathering is under way and the court simply lacks complete information to make longer term decisions.
Following are some examples of temporary orders related to finances we have seen in our practice. We have provided links to California self help websites where possible.
- Order for Temporary Alimony or Spousal Support – A temporary order for alimony is often entered to ensure both parties have the ability, to the extent possible, to maintain the marital standard of living they enjoyed during marriage. At the very least the temporary order is put in place to provide necessary funds to a non-working or lower earning spouse to support themselves during pending litigation or settlement discussions. In California the amount of temporary alimony will usually be calculated by a computer program called Dissomaster based upon historical and current incomes of both parties. Note: Temporary spousal support is almost always higher than long term spousal support in our experience.
- Order for Temporary Child Support – A temporary child support order provides necessary funds to a non-working or lower earning spouse to support the expenses necessary to support minor children. The amount of temporary child support will be based upon the incomes of both parties as well as the needs of the children. If, for example, the children have special needs or attend private schools, orders may be entered to cover the associated expenses of specific items.
- Order for Sole Use and Possession of the Marital Residence – In more contentious cases parties may argue over who should move out of the marital residence during the pending litigation. It may be necessary in this case to grant one party sole use and possession of a marital home on a temporary basis while litigation or settlement discussions proceed.
- Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders – in most jurisdictions the filing of a petition for marital dissolution in accompanied by temporary orders restraining either party from selling, encumbering or otherwise disposing of an asset. The orders may also restrict you from changing beneficiaries on insurance or retirement funds.