Getting divorced can take up to a year or more. "Temporary orders" define what happens in the meantime — for example, who the kids will live with, how you'll split up your things, like your home or car, and if your spouse will help you pay for living expenses.
Getting a divorce can take between a few months and a year or more. It's important to have a "court order," or an official direction from the court, to lay out what will happen during that time. Where will the kids live? Who pays what bills? Who takes the car?
You get that official direction through "temporary orders." As part of your divorce filing, you can request any temporary orders that you want to put in place. If you and your spouse agree, you can write the requests together. If you don't, you can each file your own requests and ask the judge to decide.
Types of temporary orders
You should file requests for temporary orders if you need immediate decisions from the judge about anything important before the divorce is final. For example:
- Custody and visitation. If you have children, filing temporary orders will make sure that important issues like custody and visitation are decided for the short term.
- Child support. If you have children, you can file a temporary order to request money to pay for their needs.
- Spousal support. If your spouse makes a lot more money than you do, you may want to file temporary orders suggesting that your spouse help pay for basic living expenses.
- Division of property and debts. If you and your spouse own a house or car together, or are both responsible for paying bills, you may want to file temporary orders with a request on how these should be split in the short term.
How to ask for temporary orders
The forms you need to fill out to ask for temporary orders are part of our Divorce Form Assistants. See "Getting a divorce with children" or "Getting a divorce without children" for those forms.
If you think your spouse might disagree with your temporary orders, it can be very helpful to get a lawyer.
After your forms are filed, your spouse will get up to 14 days to either agree or disagree with your temporary orders. If your spouse doesn't respond in that time, the court will typically issue the temporary orders that it approves. If your spouse requests different temporary orders, the court will usually decide between them based on the information that you both submitted in your forms.
It's important that all your filing information, including the financial forms, are complete and accurate. They may be used to make decisions on your temporary orders.
In some cases, the court will schedule a hearing to make a decision on what the temporary orders should be. This hearing is usually held about 4 to 6 weeks after you file the paperwork. You must attend the hearing to finalize the temporary orders.
The temporary orders are in place for as long as it takes to complete the divorce process. When you are officially divorced, the judge’s final orders will take the place of the temporary orders.