What Are Temporary Orders in a Divorce?

Unhappy young couple refusing to look at each other. Temporary Orders in a divorce

The spouse who files a petition for divorce in Kansas may ask the assigned judge to issue temporary orders relating to issues that will be decided in the case. The orders may include a restraining order, relate to possession of the marital residence, concern custody, support, and parenting time for a minor child, or other matters. State statutes govern the process and subject matter. If you think your circumstances qualify for a temporary order request, you should talk with an experienced Kansas divorce attorney before taking action.

Statutory Provisions Relating to Temporary Orders

A specific law, K.S.A. § 23-2707, governs temporary orders in a divorce. The temporary orders are also known as interlocutory orders. The statute authorizes the judge assigned to the case to make and enforce orders that:

  1. Restrain disposition and use of property (including the marital residence)
  2. Prevent the parties from “molesting or interfering with the privacy or rights of each other
  3. Provide for legal custody, residence, support, and parenting time for minor children during pendency of the action
  4. Require mediation on any issue relating to the divorce
  5. Provide for payment of expenses and attorney’s fees for either party
  6. Order court service officers to conduct an investigation into any issue in the action
  7. Require the signing of documents relating to health insurance coverage for a child

Items 1 and 2 permit the judge to issue a temporary restraining order relating to conduct of a party while the action is pending. For a request under item 3, a temporary order of support may be enforced through an order of garnishment, as provided in the statute.

A spouse requesting a temporary order relating to custody, residency, or parenting time (item 3 above) must file a proposed temporary parenting plan with the court. The opposing spouse may file an alternative temporary parenting plan. Another provision, K.S.A. § 23-3212, includes complex provisions relating to a temporary parenting plan in a divorce case.

With exceptions, the court may issue a temporary order ex parte, which means after a hearing involving only the requesting spouse. The exceptions are matters that fall under items 5 and 6 above, as well as residence changes of a minor child under specific circumstances. If the court issues an ex parte order, the other party may file a motion to vacate or modify and request a hearing, which must be held within 14 days of the filing date of the request.

Temporary Order Requests

The laws relating to temporary orders authorize the court to protect the petitioning spouse and any minor children, as well as ensure maintenance of the status quo during a divorce proceeding. Whether a request for a temporary order is appropriate depends entirely on the circumstances and specific facts in each individual case.

In some cases, temporary restraining orders may be necessary to protect the petitioning spouse and children from domestic violence, abuse, or harassment. Temporary orders also may govern other issues involving the relationship between the parties while the divorce is pending, such as child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal maintenance, and control or disposition of specific property, including the marital residence.

The court has authority to issue some temporary orders ex parte, after a hearing involving only one spouse. Other types of orders require a hearing that provides both parties the opportunity to present evidence. In all cases, the orders are effective only while the divorce case is pending. When the court issues the final divorce decree, the temporary orders are no longer in effect. The final decree governs all matters decided in the divorce case.

If you consider filing for divorce and think temporary orders are appropriate for your situation, you should talk with a knowledgeable Kansas divorce attorney before taking any other steps. The laws and procedures for temporary orders are complex. Representation by a lawyer is strongly recommended. Attempting to navigate the process on your own could jeopardize your chances of getting appropriate assistance from the court.

Your attorney can explain the whole Kansas divorce process, as well as the procedure for requesting temporary orders when you file the divorce petition. After you understand the process and your options, your lawyer helps you make an informed decision about how to proceed and then stays by your side to navigate through the process with you.

Schedule a Consultation with a Kansas Divorce Attorney

At Sloan Law Firm, our family law and divorce practice includes assisting clients with temporary orders in a divorce case. With offices in Topeka and Lawrence, we assist clients throughout Kansas and invite you to contact us by calling (785) 357-6311 or using our online contact form.

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