Undoubtedly, one of the most stressful aspects of divorce is the uncertainty that often follows. Especially if marital relations have soured to the point where one or both parties fear retribution from the other. This retribution could come in any number of ways but might include emptying bank accounts, running up credit card debt, or even prohibiting you from seeing your children.
At Neal Ashmore, we recognize that these are valid concerns. When you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from, when it will arrive, or if your kids are alright, even the little things in life can feel like insurmountable tasks. Luckily, there are protective measures your attorney can take to help shield you from these uncertainties. One of the most effective of which is to issue a temporary order, prohibiting your spouse from certain behaviors until after your divorce is finalized.
Here’s how temporary orders work in Texas, and how your Neal Ashmore attorney can use it to help alleviate some of your anxieties during divorce.
Temporary Orders in Texas
A temporary order is a type of restraining order, which can either prohibit or require certain behavior from your spouse, and usually lasts until a final divorce order is given. The exact nature of your temporary order will depend on your individual situation, however, some of the topics it could address include:
- Child custody and visitation;
- Financial matters, such as child support, insurance, and bills;
- Where each spouse will live;
- Vehicle possession; and even,
- Temporary spousal support.
Often times, temporary orders can be utilized to help ensure that the homemaker spouse is not unjustly penalized while a divorce is being finalized.
This Isn’t the Same as a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
While they might sound similar, a temporary order is not quite the same thing as a temporary restraining order (or, TRO), though, they do cover similar territories.
In contrast to a temporary order, a temporary restraining order can be applied effective immediately and does not require a hearing. However, the drawback is that a TRO is only effective for about two weeks, and will require an actual hearing in order to extend it any further. TROs are typically used as a holdover measure, which are put in place until a temporary order hearing can be arranged.
How to File a Temporary Order
Temporary orders are not necessary in all divorce or family law cases, and some judges will even require mediation before they’ll consider issuing one. Couples who are capable of communicating respectfully, and who can work together to reach agreements probably don’t need to worry about filing.
For individuals in less amicable situations, however, one of the lawyers in the Neal Ashmore family can walk you through the temporary order process, which will include both filing the necessary paperwork, and attending a hearing.
Temporary Order Paperwork
There isn’t a single, specific form that is required to file a temporary order. Instead, your attorney will direct you to the form which is most relevant to your situation. In some cases, this might mean filing an Order to Show Cause, which would require your spouse to come to court and “show cause” why the judge shouldn’t grant your request—be it for child support, paying bills, or keep you from emptying bank accounts.
In addition to your forms, you’ll likely need to file a written statement of the facts (a declaration), and include a proposed order for relief. Supporting evidence should also be included. What this looks like will vary between cases, but might include financial records, calendars and schedules for visitation, and even pictures. Your attorney will be able to help you with the specifics, once you’re ready to file.
Temporary Order Hearing
Your temporary order hearing will take place no later than two weeks after you file. It might be held in a courtroom, but could also occur in the judge’s office. While they are more informal than a full trial, it’s still a good idea to dress professionally and present your best self.
A temporary order hearing is usually not complicated. Typically, they take less than a half-hour to complete and are often decided on the spot. However, even if your judge doesn’t have a verdict that exact day, your final order should be available in no later than a week.
Contesting a Temporary Order
While it’s possible to contest the outcome of a temporary order hearing, individuals wanting to do this should seriously consider whether the cost is worth the potential outcome. Contesting a temporary order often comes at a steep price, and since the order is ultimately temporary, it may not be worth it to do so.
Then again, temporary orders can be used to influence a final order in divorce. For this reason, if you feel like your temporary order is grossly unjust, a Neal Ashmore attorney can certainly help you contest it in hopes of a better final outcome.
Temporary Orders and Domestic Violence
Speaking to an attorney should come second to keeping yourself safe. If you are currently experiencing physical harm at the hand of your spouse or intimate partner, you should speak to law enforcement immediately. Texas courts take domestic violence seriously, and there are many resources available to help protect individuals who are experiencing such harm. Once you are no longer in imminent danger, your attorney can discuss which types of legal protective measures will best suit your situation.
The standard temporary order is not typically issued for instances of abuse. For these cases, a protective order is a better solution. Protective orders are specifically targeted at prohibiting acts of violence and harm, and can be extended as long as necessary. This type of order can be requested with your county clerk at no cost to you.
Emergency Protective Orders
For more pressing, emergency situations, Neal Ashmore can request an ex parte hearing, which would require the judge to hear your case within twenty-four hours. It may also be possible for us to request an emergency protective order (or, EPO) on your behalf. While emergency protective orders are generally requested by the officers who respond to calls of domestic violence, in certain circumstances, they can also be petitioned for by an attorney, judge, guardian, or even the victims, themselves.
Temporary Order Attorneys in Texas
Maintaining the status quo between divorcing partners is vital during divorce. At Neal Ashmore, we are committed to fighting for a property split that is fair and equitable and are not afraid to issue temporary orders to protect your interests.
If you have further questions about temporary orders in Texas, or how other types of restraining orders might be utilized in your divorce, call us today at (972) 436-8000, or schedule a consultation online. Together, we can help protect your interests, and make sure you start the next phase of your life on the best foot possible.