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Once your divorce is final, you'll have a detailed agreement or court order that outlines how every aspect of your split gets handled -- from taxes to child custody and everything in between.

But what about before the divorce is finished? Life doesn't stop -- or even slow down -- just because you and your spouse have agreed to split. You need some kind of guidance on how to handle important issues during the months (or years) leading up to the final agreement.

This is where temporary orders come into play. Either side can request temporary orders from the court regarding:

  • Which parent will have primary physical custody of the children
  • Who will make decisions regarding the children's health, schooling and other important issues
  • What kind of visitation the parent without primary custody will have
  • Where the children can travel or move without both parent's consent
  • How much spousal support either spouse should give or receive
  • Who will retain possession of the home, vehicles and other property
  • Who will pay for health care expenses, including health insurance premiums and co-pays
  • How taxes will be filed
  • What can be done with any marital possessions before the divorce is final

It's important to understand that temporary orders may not remotely reflect the judge's final ruling. The court is usually concerned with maintaining the status quo (as much as possible) until the issues can be fairly negotiated and settled.

Hearings regarding temporary orders are usually scheduled quickly and fairly brief. Therefore, you need to be prepared to present the judge with the most relevant and important information you have right away.

If it's time to move ahead with a divorce, find out more about how temporary orders can be used to make the process easier.

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