Standing Orders in Divorce Cases–What is to be Expected?

Your attorney at Guest & Gray has successfully filed a petition for divorce or petition in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. However, there are standing orders attached to the newly filed petition and you aren’t sure what it all means–there are several restrictions listed and you want to be clear on what you and your ex can and cannot do with regards to each other and any children of the marriage. In fact, these orders must now be attached to all petitions for divorce in Kaufman County. For 14 days after filing, they act as a temporary restraining order. As long as neither you nor your ex complains about them to the court, after the 14 days, they turn into a temporary injunction. This just means you can’t do any of the stuff listed while your case is ongoing.

Some things prohibited may not be applicable to you, but it’s still wise to be informed because it may come up with your ex and then they would be in contempt of court orders.

1. No Disruption of Children:

a. Basically, this just says you can’t take the child out of Texas, withdraw them from their school or daycare without the other parent’s consent and you can’t hide the child or change your address and not give your ex notice. Also, you’re supposed to keep this as stable of a process as possible for the children. This means don’t speak ill about your ex or his/her family in front of the kids and don’t talk about the pending divorce and what you’re going through with your kids. As easy as it may be to open up to your kids because they are good listeners, refrain from doing so. It’s not only now ordered by the Court, but it’s also a good idea for your case–if you chose to speak to your child about this stuff, it will backfire on you and will make the divorce more difficult. And finally, neither you nor your ex can have a dating, intimate partner spend the night while the divorce is pending and while in possession of the child.

2. Conduct of the Parties During the Case:

a. You should remain as cordial as possible with your ex, being careful not to speak to them in an offensive manner. This includes not threatening your ex in any manner with harm or committing harm against them. Also, you can’t repeatedly call your ex at all hours of the night.

3. Preservation of Property and Use of Funds During Divorce Case

a. This section essentially instructs you not to do anything with your property while your case is pending and to make sure you tell the court and your attorney about every piece of it–all your land, homes, personal property, any debts that you have, all of your bank accounts, etc. Full disclosure is the policy. Also, don’t rack up a bunch of charges on credit cards, take out a loan, or really incur any debt during this time. Make sure that you’re just spending your money for living expenses and paying your bills and stuff like that. In fact, leave all the bills as they are at the time the petition was filed and don’t cancel anything like the internet or cable. Moreover, don’t sign any checks in your ex’s name or try to change or cancel any credit cards they have. And finally, if your ex is in possession of a vehicle, and you believe that it belongs to you, don’t try to take matters into your own hands. All the property is divided and awarded to the parties by the judge. In fact, the Texas Family Code Section 7.001 states that the judge shall make a just and right division of the property.

4. Personal and Business Records in Divorce Cases

a. We are beginning to see a pattern here. Again, this section deals with not interfering with or destroying but in this situation it is any personal records such as financial statements from your bank, tax returns, deeds, birth certificates, income statements from your work like a check stub etc. Just keep track of them, and give the requested ones to your attorney.

5. Insurance in Divorce Case

a. Finally, you and your ex are prohibited from cancelling, changing, or interfering with any insurance while the case is pending; this includes car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, etc.

In the midst of all the things you and your ex are instructed not to do, there are also specific authorizations, in case you are unclear, as to what is acceptable while the case is pending. The basics have been mentioned previously–spend your money wisely; meaning, for now, only for attorney’s fees and costs of the divorce as well as living expenses. And, if you have a job–keep going to it. Continue your life while your attorney handles this matter for you.

While tedious, all of this is for your benefit. Indeed, the more civil you are, the better it looks for you and the easier the process is. If you believe that your ex is in violation of any of the stated prohibitions, notify your attorney at Guest & Gray immediately so they can bring the issue to the court’s attention.