California Divorce cases can be lengthy — complex matters can go on for months or even years. Depending on the facts of the case, there may be issues that must be managed before the final judgment is signed. To resolve these various issues while the action is pending, a court can issue an interim order. Also referred to as “pendente lite” orders, these types of orders are temporary orders that apply until a divorce decree is issued. Once the judgment is rendered in the case, the temporary orders are replaced by final orders.
In the event the parties resolve the issue of custody amicably, they can submit their agreement to the court so that an order can be issued. Significantly, even if a verbal settlement has been reached, an agreement cannot be legally enforced unless it is ordered by a judge. Temporary custody orders can have a substantial impact on the permanent custody arrangement. This is why careful negotiation of child custody matters is crucial.
If you and the child’s other parent cannot reach an agreement regarding custody, you may consider filing an “Order to Show Cause for Temporary Custody.” Such cases can usually be resolved in mediation. In addition, an emergency ex parte order for custody may be requested in certain cases where it is necessary to protect the party or children from an immediate danger or irreparable harm.
Child support is essential to ensure a child’s needs are met. A temporary child support order can be requested when you file for divorce, or at any stage during the process. Certain factors must be considered under California law when rendering a determination for an interim child support order. These include the following:
For both interim and final orders, California uses the “income share” principle when it comes to making a child support determination. While younger children who require daycare are often awarded a higher child support amount than older children, the order can vary greatly based on the specific circumstances in the case.
Temporary spousal support, also known as alimony, is commonly requested during divorce proceedings. This can help ensure the financial status quo in the relationship is maintained before a final determination is made. While the court won’t make any long-term decisions concerning alimony before it has all the information needed to do so, temporary alimony can be requested by filing a petition for a temporary hearing.
Since temporary hearings are requested early in the divorce case, there is usually no information available from discovery. Most courts in California use a mathematical formula as a guideline for calculating alimony. However, it’s vital to understand that temporary alimony is not automatic — the decision rendered is based on the financial need of the supported spouse. Items to consider can include attorneys’ fees, living expenses, rental deposits, and other costs stemming from the divorce action.
Child custody, child support, and alimony aren’t the only matters that might need to be decided before a divorce case has concluded. Other temporary orders in a California divorce case can cover the exclusive use of the family home or vehicle. They can also determine how bills and debts will be handled until the divorce is finalized.
Temporary orders are some of the most important factors that can help your case move along more quickly. If you and your spouse find that the temporary orders are working, you can submit a settlement agreement to be approved by the court. Reaching an agreement on temporary orders means you’re closer to an overall resolution in your case.
If the temporary orders are too one-sided, it may be more difficult to settle a case. In such instances, the spouse who did not get what they wanted may wish to tip the scale in their favor. It’s important for both parties to have realistic expectations regarding the outcome and work to reach a compromise to reduce the time and expense associated with divorce. Mediation is often a useful tool to help a couple communicate their objectives and reach an amicable agreement.
If you are engaged in a lengthy and complicated divorce, interim orders are vital to help ensure you and your children have the financial security you need. A skilled divorce attorney can advise you regarding your rights and guide you through the legal process. Offering compassionate counsel and adept advocacy, The Law Offices of Rick D. Banks has been helping clients throughout Fresno and the surrounding area with their divorce and family law matters for over 20 years. To schedule a no obligation consultation, call (559)222-4891.