It can be several months before the divorce proceedings are finalized, and the judge signs a divorce decree. During this time which can run into months, there are decisions that you must make about living arrangements, child custody, your expenses and other matters. These matters are decided in the form of a temporary decree that is meant to last through the separation, before the divorce is finalized. However, just because these are temporary agreements does not mean that you can take them lightly. In fact, very often, temporary decrees are used as the basis for the final divorce agreements.
It is highly recommended that you and your wife come to an agreement about the terms of these temporary arrangements, including where each of you will live, who will move out, who will look after the children for most of the time, and about finances.
However, if you cannot agree on these issues, you may need to attend a temporary orders hearing. In such cases, the court will hear both sides of the story and will deliver a decision on the matter. This effectively means that the matter is now beyond your control. The new orders delivered by the court will come into effect, and must be adhered to until the court issues the final decree.
The temporary agreement does not necessarily define exactly what the final agreement will look like. However, a judge could decide to use the tone of the temporary agreement to decide what the final court order will mean for you. Therefore, it’s important to plan your temporary agreement, and seek legal help before you attend the hearing for the temporary court order.
Draft a complete outline of all of your expenses, so that you can prove to the judge that the temporary child support payments or alimony payments that your wife may be demanding are unreasonable. Put together an anticipated budget that makes clear your expenses and income over the foreseeable future, and propose a parenting plan that is fair to you. Provide all important financial documentation, including tax returns and your most recent paycheck stubs, and write a Summary of Requests which notes your choices for the temporary arrangements. Speak to a lawyer to ensure that the temporary court order reflects your best interests.