Temporary Orders in Florida Divorce
Divorce in Florida is a lengthy process. Even if you collaborate with your spouse and develop independent plans, you must work through the court system. Sometimes, you can’t wait for critical decisions to be made. Temporary orders can help.
Temporary orders are a little like stopgap measures. You ask the court to settle a few basic issues right now which you could reverse or make permanent through your final divorce orders.
What types of temporary orders can you use?
Two primary forms are used as temporary orders by people divorcing in Florida. They are similar, but they contain important differences. Choosing the right form is critical.
Form: Temporary support for people with no children
This form from the Florida courts is designed for people who don’t share children. Multiple boxes are included, and you don’t have to fill out each one. Instead, you can look for the items that are important to you.
Options include the following:
- Family home: Orders could give you exclusive use and possession of the property you’ve lived in together.
- Assets: Orders could give you both use and possession of things like computers, furniture, and cars.
- Sales: Orders could keep one person from disposing of things like cars, appliances, and tools.
- Debts: Orders could dictate who pays credit card bills, the home mortgage, and more.
- Support: The courts could require one person to provide another with spousal support payments.
- Fees: Orders could help you cover costs associated with hiring a lawyer.
A blank box at the end allows you to ask for orders regarding other issues. You could discuss things like life insurance payments, health insurance benefits, and more.
Form: Temporary support for people with dependent children
This form is designed for people who share one or more dependent children. This form also contains multiple boxes, and you’re only required to use those you need.
Note that there is an overlap between this form and the one for people with no children. You won’t have to use both forms to get the decisions you need. If you share dependents, this form should include everything you require.
Issues you can ask the court to consider include the following:
- The family home: You can ask the court to give you exclusive use and possession of the home you’ve shared. You’re not required to live in that home with the children you share. You could inhabit it alone.
- Assets: You can request possession and exclusive use of things you share, like boats, cars, and furniture.
- Sales: You can request a ban on sales of shared property by either party.
- Debts: You can ask for arrangements to pay back shared loans, including credit card bills.
- Parenting plans: You can develop detailed arrangements about where your child will be, or you can ask that the children live with one party or the other the majority of the time.
- Moving bans: You can ask the court to restrict your partner’s ability to move away with the children you share.
- Child support: You can ask the courts to require the other party to send you money to feed, clothe, or house the children you are supporting as the custodial parent.
- Spousal support: You can ask the court to require the other party to send money for your food, clothing, and housing. These funds are separate from those attached to your children.
- Fees: You can ask for funds to help you pay for lawyers.
A blank space at the end of this form allows you to ask for other decisions on your split. You could use this section to talk about insurance, retirement accounts, or any other pertinent issue that you’ll later resolve through your divorce.
How are temporary orders granted?
Paperwork starts the temporary order process in Florida. You choose the proper form, fill it out carefully, and submit it to the clerk. A hearing typically comes next.
Florida judges prefer hearings that include both parties. If the court rules on a request your partner didn’t know about or doesn’t have an opportunity to read, it could create an unfair advantage.
That said, Florida laws allow for an ex parte hearing that includes just the petitioning party. You could use this process if both of the following rules apply:
- The judge doesn’t think either party will gain an advantage.
- The judge notifies the other side of the communication and offers a chance for that person to respond.
In general, temporary orders move quickly. Florida courts understand that divorcing couples need critical information decided rapidly so they can move forward while the divorce grinds on.
But a very busy court could need time to process your paperwork, schedule a hearing, and rule on the items you’ve requested. Don’t expect an answer immediately.
When do temporary orders end?
No Florida temporary orders come with an expiration date. Instead, they’re designed to remain in place until they’re replaced by something else. Typically, that something else is a final divorce decree.
As you work with your partner to wind down your marriage, you’ll agree on critical issues like spousal support, child custody, debt arrangements, and the marital home. The final documents you submit to the court will replace anything contained in your temporary orders.
Do you always need temporary orders?
You’re not required to include temporary orders in your Florida divorce. If you’ve maintained a good relationship with your partner, you may agree on all issues without formalizing them through the courts.
But if you don’t trust your partner or can’t agree on what comes next, temporary orders can help. You’ll have legal protection as your case moves forward.
ReferencesForm 12.947c: Motion for Temporary Support and Other Relief with no Dependent or Minor Children. Florida Supreme Court.
Form 12.947a: Motion for Temporary Support, Time Sharing, and Other Relief with Dependent or Minor Children. Florida Support Court.
Ex Parte Considerations. Florida Courts.