The Waiting Game: Using Temporary Orders for Decisions before Your Divorce is Final

Did you know that the divorce "waiting period," the time you must wait between filing your initial divorce paperwork and getting your final divorce decree, can be six months or more depending on which state you live in?

So, what happens if, during that time, you and your spouse live in separate households? How will you continue to pay your bills? How will you and your spouse share parenting time, and where will the kids live?

At Hello Divorce, these are some of the most common questions we hear. One of the scariest parts of divorce can be the unknowns and navigating that "in limbo" time before your divorce is final.

If you're feeling this way, you can often find relief from the court in the form of temporary orders.

What are temporary orders?

Temporary orders are short-term orders from the court around many issues of your divorce, including who lives in the marital home, the amount of spousal and child support, how you pay marital bills and debts, and how you divide parenting time. These orders generally end once you have your final court hearing or receive your divorce decree and final judgment or court orders, which will lay out all the final agreements on these topics between you and your spouse.

How do we know if we need temporary orders?

Temporary orders make it easier for both spouses to keep up the relative lifestyle they enjoyed during the marriage, even while their divorce case is pending. These orders make sure that neither spouse has a relative advantage or disadvantage during this time. For instance, if one spouse does not earn income and the spouses separate, temporary orders can make sure the non-earning spouse can pay their bills, buy groceries, etc. Temporary orders can also help limit the communication between spouses if they are going through a more contentious divorce.

Are temporary orders available for all divorces?

They're not. The courts generally view the need for temporary orders on a case-by-case basis. State-specific divorce laws, or even local court rules, can factor into the court's decision, and even the particular judge assigned to your case could have an individual take on whether you need temporary orders.

How do I know if I can get temporary orders?

To find out if you qualify for temporary orders, begin by contacting the self-help center at your local court. And, if you live in California, Colorado, Texas, or Utah (more states coming soon!), schedule a legal coaching session with an attorney in your area to discuss the specifics of your case and whether temporary orders are right for you.

At Hello Divorce, we strive to provide you with all the divorce resources you need at your fingertips, and the very best resource you can have is knowledge. Schedule your free 15-minute phone call to learn more about how Hello Divorce can help you navigate to the next chapter of your life ... and don't forget to check out some of our favorite resources!

Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.