Some people carefully plan for divorce for months before they make the leap -- but what happens when they do? If you're the spouse that's taken by surprise, with no time to prepare yourself emotionally or financially, a sudden divorce can be devastating on a number of levels.
If you've been caught off-guard by a spouse that's suddenly abandoned you, talk to your attorney about asking the court for temporary orders that can both protect your interests and give you a measure of security during the stressful early days of your divorce.
Temporary orders can be sought as soon as you separate, through relatively informal hearings. Judges generally seek to address important issues related to property and people:
- Your spouse can be prohibited from selling or otherwise disposing of any marital property, including houses, cars, boats, household furnishings and more. That can give you time to take an inventory of all of your marital property so that you ask for your fair share in the final divorce.
- Your spouse can be ordered to provide child support or spousal support. It's important to understand that this support is temporary and may not be the same once the divorce is settled.
- The judge may order a temporary child custody and visitation schedule. In addition, temporary orders may prohibit you or your spouse from taking the children out of state or moving them without the court's permission.
- The court can also put orders in place that prohibit your spouse from canceling any health insurance plans you are on. The same thing can be done for auto insurance and life insurance policies.
- If necessary, the judge can also issue a restraining order, which may also force your spouse to leave the family home if he or she is still present.
- In some circumstances, the judge may even issue an order that requires your spouse to help pay your attorney fees. This is usually only done when there's a significant economic disparity between you and your spouse.
If you're facing a sudden divorce, don't panic -- seek legal help instead. An attorney can help you get temporary orders in place while you decide what steps to take next.
Source: FindLaw, "Family Court Decisions: Temporary Orders," accessed July 21, 2017