Westborough Temporary Divorce Orders
We all know that divorce can be a long and grueling process and that you have very real needs and issues that must be addressed before the case is finished. If you are in the middle of a contested divorce and certain issues concerning your children or finances cannot wait until trial, you can obtain a temporary order. This will lay out each spouse’s rights and responsibilities and provide you with recourse if your spouse decides to do something different, for example – stop paying bills. You may be able to agree upon a temporary order directly with your spouse or you may need to go to court and have a judge decide what should be done. In Westborough, temporary divorce orders give families a chance to find some resolution while litigation is pending until a more permanent solution is reached. Our amazing legal team has the first-hand experience to help you identify what stopgap court orders may be necessary to keep your life moving until you can fully move on from this difficult time.
What is a Temporary Divorce Order?
A temporary order on divorce is basically an order from the court telling the parties in the divorce what their rights and responsibilities are during the dissolution process. For example, if there is going to be a child support order, a temporary order could dictate what the amount of child support is that one parent must pay to the other parent. A temporary order might outline who will pay the mortgage while the divorce is still ongoing, who gets to stay and live in the marital home, who the kids will live with, what the visitation schedule will be, and any other obligations that cannot wait until there is a final judgment.
In most contested divorce cases, temporary divorce orders are very common as they help to reduce some of a family’s uncertainty during the divorce process. Although utilized in around 90% of contested divorce cases, temporary orders are not required. If you and your spouse agree on how to do things during the pendency of the divorce and you both do as you’re supposed to, then there’s no need for court intervention. However, if you are dealing with a high-conflict contested divorce, chances are that you are dealing with a spouse that you do not get along so well with or who does not always carry through with what they say they are going to do. While temporary orders ultimately can’t end the conflict in your divorce, the court could lay down ground rules and require each party to do certain things so the process can continue, which is often helpful to both spouses.
Temporary Divorce Order Hearings
In order to get a temporary order from the Court, you must file a motion for temporary orders, asking the court to order certain things, like custody, child support, alimony, visitation, etc.. Then, the court will schedule a hearing for those issues where both you and your spouse will need to appear.
The hearing is basically an oral argument after which the judge takes everything under advisement and sends out the temporary order in the mail. A lot of times, people have the expectation that this hearing is similar to trials they see on television where evidence and testimony will be produced. Oftentimes, people are let down because the hearing is typically very short and the Judge will not look at any documents or hear any testimony from witnesses you have to back up what you are saying. Also, if you need to argue your case before a Judge because you cannot come to an agreement, the Judge will “take the matter under advisement,” which means you will not get an answer that same day. Temporary orders usually take between two to six weeks to arrive in the mail after the hearing date.
If you live in Westborough, Massachusetts, or anywhere within Worcester County, then your hearing will be heard at the Worcester County Probate and Family Court in front of the Judge your case has been assigned to. On the morning of the hearing, you will first have to go through Probation (also called Family Services) to meet with a probation officer who will try to help you and your spouse reach at least some agreements on some of the issues. This is not like a probation officer in criminal court – you can think of it more like a mediation session. If you are unable to reach a full agreement there, you will then be sent to the courtroom for the Judge to hear the arguments and issue orders.
It is not uncommon for a hearing on a motion for temporary orders to take all day. You may arrive at 8:30 in the morning and stay in court until 4:30 PM. While the process may take a long time, it’s really a relatively short period of time within the 9-18 month period it generally takes a divorce to finish. Most people find it is well worth the assurance about how certain practical issues will be handled during the divorce when there is such mistrust or disagreement with their spouse. For many people in Westborough, temporary divorce orders could provide some peace of mind in the chaos that often comes along with divorce.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Temporary Divorce Orders in Westborough?
While there is no requirement that you have a lawyer present while seeking temporary divorce orders in Worcester County Probate and Family Court, it is generally much better for you to have an attorney present to ensure that your interests are protected and to make sure the arguments that need to be made are. Oftentimes, the things you think it might be important to tell the probation officer or the Judge are not the things that will help you get the outcome you want. It can also be hard for someone who is used to letting the other spouse take the lead to make sure they speak up or say no when it’s necessary. Those are just two of the many reasons having a trusted attorney by your side is important. An attorney knows the process enough to know how a temporary agreement today may affect you long-term later. We’ve seen too many people try to get things they agreed upon within a temporary order reversed because they later find out it’s not working; however, even though the name says “temporary,” a temporary order should be thought of as fairly permanent and difficult to change later. Once done, it can be more difficult and costly to try to fix mistakes that could have been avoided in the first place.
If you are in the process of your divorce and trust has broken down completely, your spouse refuses to help with their obligations, or there are concerns about your children, we can most certainly help. At O’Connor Family Law, we have over 25 cumulative years of exclusive family law experience that we can put at your disposal for everything from the amicable divorce to the “War of the Roses” scenarios. For many divorcing couples in Westborough, temporary divorce orders can help ensure that your life can continue until the process is done. Call us in our Westborough office today to schedule an opportunity to talk with us and pursue the orders that you need.