For some divorcing couples, the dissolution process can be relatively short. If the parties agree on the disposition of their property, where the children should reside, child support, and other details, a decree of dissolution can be entered in as little as ninety days after the filing of the petition for dissolution. However, if things are not this simple (and they usually are not) people often wonder what happens to their kids, property, child support, spousal maintenance (commonly known as alimony) and financial accounts in the time between the petition and decree. The answer is often temporary orders. (Temporary orders may also be requested and entered in other non-dissolution family law cases.)
Temporary orders are orders entered by the court that provide how issues are to be handled prior to the entry of the decree. They can limit the spouses’ rights to spend money from certain accounts, order which spouse should pay debts, order child support, order spousal maintenance, provide the parties with a temporary parenting plan, and much more. These orders can be especially helpful in situations where communication and cooperation between spouses has strained or ceased.
While temporary orders are replaced by the final orders at the time of the decree, their importance should not be underestimated. The schedule in the temporary parenting plan can have effects on the final parenting plan. The temporary maintenance and child support can have huge ramifications on the standard of living for the economically disadvantaged spouse and the children (and the paying spouse too). Court orders requiring debts be paid can save both parties’ credit.