What You Should Know About Temporary Orders in California Divorce Cases

What You Should Know About Temporary Orders in California Divorce Cases

Temporary orders are common in California divorces, but they’re often misunderstood. These short-term orders play a pivotal role in outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party during the divorce proceedings before everything is finalized. Let’s delve into the various types of temporary orders, their potential impact on those going through a divorce in California, and how to request one in your split. 

What Are Temporary Orders?

A temporary order is a legal decision made by a court during the divorce process, intended to address important issues while the divorce is being finalized. These decisions are “temporary” because they only last until the divorce decree is issued or until the court modifies them.

A short-term order can significantly impact a couple’s rights and responsibilities. For example, temporary child custody orders can set a precedent for the final custody arrangement, and failure to comply with them can negatively impact one’s case. Similarly, short-term support orders ensure that spouses and children maintain a certain standard of living during the divorce proceedings.

Types of Temporary Orders in California Divorces

In a California divorce, several types of temporary order can be issued by the court to manage various aspects of the couple’s lives while the divorce is being finalized. These orders are crucial as they set parameters for both parties’ conduct and responsibilities during the divorce process. Here’s a breakdown of the common types of short-term orders in California:

  1. Child Custody and Visitation: These decisions determine who will have custody of the children and the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. They are vital for maintaining stability and routine in the children’s lives during the divorce proceedings.
  2. Child Support: These orders require one spouse to pay child support to the other, ensuring that the children’s financial needs are met during the divorce process. The amount of support is typically based on state guidelines, which consider factors like income, custody arrangements, and the needs of the children.
  3. Spousal Support (Alimony): These rulings require one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse during the divorce process. Temporary spousal support aims to maintain the living standard established during the marriage, particularly for a spouse who might not be financially self-sufficient.
  4. Property Control: Also known as an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO), this type of order dictates who can use and control marital properties, such as the family home, vehicles, or other significant assets, while the separation is ongoing. It helps in preventing the misuse or dissipation of marital assets before the final division.
  5. Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs): In cases where there’s a threat of harm, harassment, or abuse, the court can issue restraining orders to protect one spouse or the children from the other spouse. They can include provisions related to personal conduct, property control, and other protective measures.
  6. Attorneys’ Fees and Costs: These documents require one spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees and court costs. This is particularly common when there’s a significant disparity in the financial resources of the spouses.
  7. Payment of Debts: The court can order one or both parties to pay marital debts during the divorce process. These debts can include mortgage payments, credit card debts, or other household expenses.

Each of these temporary orders is designed to address immediate needs and concerns while the final details of the divorce are being worked out. They are subject to modification and will generally be replaced by permanent orders once the divorce is finalized.

Requesting Temporary Orders in California Divorces

Some temporary orders occur automatically when you file for divorce. For example, every California divorce petition includes an ATRO that bars either spouse from taking adverse financial action against the other person. 

However, others are not automatic. If you want a stop-gap child custody or spousal support order, you’ll need to petition the court to have one put in place while your divorce is pending. Here’s a general guide on how to request temporary orders:

  • Complete the Necessary Forms: The first step is to complete the appropriate forms required to request your temporary order and file it with the court. The necessary documentation typically includes forms like the Request for Order (FL-300) and, depending on the type of order you’re requesting, other supporting documents. For example, if you’re asking for child support, you might need to complete an Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150).
  • Serve the Other Party: After filing the forms with the court, you must formally serve the other party with a copy of the paperwork. This is typically done by a third party who is not involved in the case, such as a professional process server or a county sheriff. 
  • Attend the Hearing: On the day of the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their case to the judge. Be punctual, dress appropriately, and be ready to explain your situation and why the order is necessary. The judge will consider the evidence and arguments from both sides before making a decision.

Remember, the specifics of this process can vary slightly depending on the local court rules and the nature of the order you are requesting. It is often beneficial to consult with a family law attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights and interests are adequately represented.

Talk to Diane J.N. Morin About Your Need for Temporary Orders 

Temporary orders in a California divorce are critical tools that help manage the legal and personal aspects of a couple’s life during the transition. Understanding these orders and their implications is essential for anyone getting divorced in California. Remember, while these orders are temporary, they can have long-lasting effects on the outcome of your divorce.Given the substantial impact of a temporary order, it’s crucial to have effective legal representation. An experienced family law attorney like Diane J.N. Morin can help you understand your rights, advocate on your behalf, and ensure that any temporary order is fair and appropriate. Schedule your consultation today to learn how she can help you.