Once the divorce process is over, you and your ex will have a plan on how to handle each and every aspect of your divorce agreement. In the meantime, what are you supposed to do about things such as the kids' residential schedule, paying the family bills and child support? “Winging it” is almost never the way to go and often results in unnecessary conflict. Fortunately, this is where temporary orders come into play. Temporary orders can help you and your spouse navigate these issues while your divorce proceedings are still underway. You're going to need a plan that spells out the many details of day to day living while you wait for the divorce to be final. Make sure you understand how temporary orders work and how you can utilize them. Also make sure you understand that even these can be mediated - you don't have to find yourself in Court slinging mud simply to navigate who is paying for the kids' school lunches.
When are Temporary Orders Needed?
A divorce proceeding in Washington can last one year, and longer in some circumstances. Before your divorce concludes, you're going to need a plan to handle shared parenting among other things. Some couples can sit down civilly, put their differences aside, and put together a mutually satisfactory agreement regarding the parenting of their children and the business details of their day to day life. More likely, however, you and your spouse cannot agree on whether the sky is blue (or grey as it may be in Seattle), much less a parenting strategy and a bill payment system, and are going to need some outside help when it comes to these details. A temporary order can give guidance on topics such as how property will be divided, a schedule regarding who will be responsible for your children at what times, child support, etc. These are all issues that need to get handled right away, not after months or even a year into the divorce process. While your split is becoming official, temporary orders are what govern many of the details. These orders can help calm the conflict if amicable agreements cannot be formed.
How They Work
The court will grant temporary orders when they are necessary. These orders typically last until your official settlement is reached. There are several different ways to obtain a temporary order; you can get go to court on a Motion for Temporary Orders or you can get temporary orders through mediation. Temporary orders are (obviously) not permanent, they are meant to provide you and your soon-to-be ex with some court-ordered structure and guidance through the divorce process, particularly where children are involved.
Every family is unique and there isn't a set list of things that temporary orders will address. However, here are some of the more common issues covered by a temporary order:
- Sale or possession of marital home, car or other property
- Child support
- Residential Schedule
- Health insurance
- Spousal support
How to Obtain a Temporary Order
If a temporary order sounds like something you need, you seek the help of a qualified Washington divorce attorney who can help you navigate temporary orders strategically based on your individual facts and circumstances.
We Can Help
Elise has extensive experience in high-conflict parenting disputes. If you have any questions about Washington state divorce law, mediation, or temporary orders, contact us.