Temporary Court Orders
Atlanta Attorneys Experienced in Family Law Matters
When a married couple decides to divorce, there is often a significant delay between the time they separate and the date when their divorce becomes final. One of the most common problems couples encounter during this time is how to arrange or handle their separation in terms of child custody and visitation, spousal support, and other issues prior to a final divorce decree. One solution is to obtain a Temporary Court Order that may temporarily resolve these matters prior to the divorce becoming final. If you need help in obtaining a Temporary Court Order pending your divorce or in another family law matter, the experienced Atlanta lawyers at Rowsey & Stelter can guide you. We have proudly served clients for over 20 years in Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, and other communities in Fulton, DeKalb, and Cobb Counties.
Seeking a Temporary Court Order
When a marriage breaks down, it is a process, not an event. When one or both of the spouses reach the decision that divorce is the most desirable option, they often decide to live separately, although a separate residence is not required to establish legal separation. The problem, of course, is that maintaining two households requires that they make living arrangements almost as if the divorce were already in place, perhaps even before they have instituted the legal formality of filing for divorce.
This period between separation and divorce is referred to as the “waiting period.” In Georgia, if a couple agrees on every term (that is, it is an uncontested divorce), this waiting period can be as short as 31 days after the petition for divorce is filed. However, in most cases, divorces take considerably longer before they become final. This is because couples need time to compile and evaluate their situation and to negotiate matters like the division of assets and debts, child custody and visitation, child support, or spousal support.
In many cases, this process can take several months or longer. Furthermore, couples often are unable to reach agreement on their own regarding some or all of these matters, in which case a court must address them.
During this waiting period, both spouses have the right to request a temporary hearing. From this hearing, the court will issue a Temporary Court Order that will put in place temporary provisions regarding child custody, spousal support, property division, and other contested issues. The purpose of the order is to allow the spouses to proceed with their lives without argument or interference from the other spouse until all matters are resolved with finality in a divorce decree. Temporary Court Orders may put in place specific restrictions upon the spouses during this temporary period, such as prohibiting them from transferring or selling any assets.
Although a temporary court order is not final, its terms can be indicative of how a final decree may appear. Consequently, it is important to make sure that you prepare your petition carefully. This means having a clear idea of what you want and being able to provide documentation and arguments sufficient to support your request. In many cases, you may want to prepare your request for a temporary hearing in advance of filing divorce papers.
If the terms of a Temporary Court Order end up being unfavorable to you, either because the court decided against your request or because, after living under the actual terms of the order, you discover that the provisions do not work well for you, a Temporary Court Order can help you to better evaluate what you need and want in the final decree.
Legal Guidance for Residents of Atlanta Pursuing a Divorce
To explore your options regarding a Temporary Court Order or another part of the divorce process, you can consult the Atlanta attorneys at Rowsey & Stelter. Call us at (770) 993-5317, or use our online form to set up a consultation. We can take the time needed to discuss your situation and understand your goals, and we tenaciously advocate for the interests of each of our clients.