What are Court Orders?

Aug 8, 2012 by

When proceeding with a divorce, many arrangements must be made between the spouses. If husband and wife are unable to negotiate an agreement about the children, bills, and/or other issues, a court order can be used to split financial responsibilities until the divorce becomes finalized.

The first step in splitting financial responsibilities is always to attempt to negotiate with your spouse. This will save legal costs for both parties. There are circumstances where this might not be possible, and that is where a court order is useful.

Are there children? A court order may be necessary to give child support for the custodial parent, to set a schedule for where they live and visit and how often, whether a guardian ad litem is required, and who covers the children’s health insurance. A guardian ad litem is literally a ‘guardian at law’ who protects the interest of a child in legal proceedings.

What about marital property? A court order may be used to determine who lives in the marital home, which spouse pays the mortgage or if it is split between the two, who pays utility bills, who gets which vehicle, who gets responsibility for the credit card debts, and how household items are split.

What about spousal support? Financial support may be needed to keep both people living comfortably and equally during the time of the divorce, so a court order may distribute funds between the spouse with greater income and the spouse with less, either by assigning the mortgage payment, utility bills, or a set sum of money.

Situations where a court order is necessary include abusive spouses and spouses who may take the children to another state or country.

When the court order has been issued, read it carefully. Both people need to uphold the order for schedule and financial obligations, and if the agreement is violated you may be held in contempt of court. Remember that a temporary court order will likely be similar to the final settlement. An appeal of the court’s decision may be requested, but no new evidence may be offered at that time. Circumstances may change over time, and at a later date the settlement can be modified.

A court order has a necessary place in a divorce, though not all couples need one. Consider your needs before negotiating with your spouse or obtaining a court order.


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