After a divorce is filed in Texas, a period of at least 60 days must pass before a final decree may be entered. This is referred to as the “waiting period.” In many, but not all, cases, Temporary Orders are requested in order to set the rights and responsibilities of the parties during the divorce litigation process.
Some of the issues involved may be: temporary spousal support for either party, exclusive use and possession of the marital residence by either party during the pendency of the case, exclusive use and possession of motor vehicles, credit cards, etc. For the most part, during this time both parties are prohibited from using or diverting funds for anything other than reasonable living expenses, business expenses, or attorney fees. (Sometimes referred to as “Temporary Restraining Orders.) There may also be temporary injunctions involving harassment, threatening language or posting on social media. There is not a final division of marital property at this stage.
If children are involved, there will be temporary orders regarding child support, custody and visitation (parenting plan). However, in most counties, mediation will be required prior to a temporary orders hearing if children are involved.
In some cases, the Temporary Orders are agreed to by the parties with the assistance of the attorneys and/ or a mediator. In others, the temporary orders hearing is like a trial. Testimony of the parties, under oath, will be taken on issues relevant to temporary orders, but not necessarily to the final division of property or parenting plan. There may be additional witnesses, depending on the nature of the case. In most cases, the court will make a ruling on Temporary Orders the same day. The attorneys will then prepare a formal version of the TO’s for submission to the court for signature and entry. These orders will be the “law” of the case until the final trial, (or Agreed Final Decree), which will encompass a final disposition of all issues concerning division of marital property and debts, and a final parenting plan. The final disposition, or decree, may take several months, or even years, to complete. Therefore, temporary orders may be a necessity in some cases.
Please contact a Family Law attorney