Most people want to wrap up a divorce as soon as possible, but that may not be possible depending on the issues in their marriage. Even if both spouses are generally in agreement, working out the finer points on issues such as custody and property division can take at least several months. If spouses have disagreements, they may need to go to trial, in which case a divorce may take years to resolve.
One of the most challenging aspects of any prolonged divorce is dealing with the financial responsibilities and parenting duties, which obviously, cannot be put on hold. Although a financial stay is automatically triggered by the filing of the divorce complaint, this protection only prevents you from losing certain properties while the divorce is pending. In order to protect disadvantaged spouses and their children during the divorce, the New Jersey family courts allow for the issuance of temporary orders at the beginning of the trial process.
As the name implies, these orders are temporary, meaning that they will be replaced with permanent terms in the final judgement of divorce. The court does, however, take these orders very seriously, so you must follow them to the letter. Ultimately, these orders are meant to ensure that both spouses can continue to live a reasonable quality of life while they wait for the final judgment of divorce. For example, an individual who earns significantly less that his spouse can file for pendente lite, which is a form of temporary alimony. The purpose of this order is to make sure that the supported spouse is able to live a quality of life that is at least comparable to the one that he had been living during the course of the marriage. This is especially important if the supported spouse needs to pay attorney fees and court costs, while maintaining the marital home and the children's day-to-day expenses.
Temporary orders can also establish custody and child support guidelines during the divorce proceedings. These orders are used to set important conditions, such as prohibiting either spouse form leaving the state with the children. You can also set terms for visitation and overnight stays, so that the children get to see both you and your spouse on a consistent basis. Along with establishing clear terms for both parties, these orders can help both the parents and children transition into living as two separate households sooner, rather than later.
The courts, however, do not automatically issue temporary orders, so you should speak to an attorney about requesting them as soon as possible. In fact, this is one of the first things experienced family law attorneys go over with their clients during a divorce consultation. Whether you have already filed for divorce, or have yet to make a decision, please speak with the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. In addition to temporary orders, our attorneys can help you a wide range of legal actions designed to protect your rights.