Getting Prepared for Temporary Orders

The Courts look to maintain the status quo during the pendency of the temporary orders, especially as to finances.

By Anita Cutrer
Updated: September 19, 2014
1. Divorce Financial Planning/Investment

Allocation of Finances During Temporary Orders

While you are in transition and trying to set up two separate households, the court will look to allocate the income and any other resources to keep all of the necessary bills and living expenses paid for both parties. This is usually done by ordering the spouse with the larger earning capacity to pay temporary spousal support while the parties are in transition during the Temporary Orders.

The courts focus on keeping rent, mortgage, and vehicle payments timely paid. Unsecured credit cards or debt are a last priority, and if there is not enough to go around, you may have to stop payments until you get on your feet. In order to salvage your credit, if you are unable to make the regular payments, you may want to contact the credit-card company and make alternate arrangements for payment during this time.

2. Protecting Yourself Financially

If your spouse has had the primary responsibility of handling the financial matters during your marriage, you may be unfamiliar with the general concepts and basic practices of general everyday accounting relative to running your household. Indeed, you may not even have any checking accounts or credit cards in your name only. This is a situation that should be remedied as soon as possible.

If you do not have your own bank account, select a bank with which to do business, and start your own bank account.

It is important that you establish credit in your own name. Your bank officer can be of assistance to you by paving the way for you to obtain a MasterCard or Visa through the bank where you have your newly established accounts. Be sure to make all payments on the date specified. Prompt payments, as well as late payments, will be reflected in your credit report.

If you remove funds which you may have from various community checking accounts and savings accounts, place these funds in a separate account designated as community property funds, but do not spend any of this money unless the judge or your attorney advises you otherwise. The transfer of funds in these circumstances is to prevent the possibility of your spouse "cleaning out the family savings". Even so, you should be very careful not to cut your spouse off from access to funds for living expenses, and you should be careful to leave enough in the account to cover all outstanding checks. We do not advise that you move any funds without first consulting with us.

3. Prepare for Your Financial Future Now

If you are the spouse with the larger income, make plans to support your spouse and children pending the finalization of the divorce. Cut down on unnecessary expense. You must realize that the income that you both lived on before must now support two separate households and therefore, your standard of living will change.

If you have been a stay-at-home parent or spouse, you need to start making arrangements immediately to become employed. Unfortunately, when the case comes to a conclusion you will have to take care of yourself for the most part. Texas has recently allowed alimony under very limited circumstances: In a nutshell, you have to have been married for at least ten years and then you have to prove to the court that you are incapable of making a minimum living. Even if the Court awarded alimony, they could only order it for three years at a maximum amount of $2500.00 per month. In other words, don't count on it.

One of You Will Have to Leave the Home
Rarely will the Court find it appropriate to order the parties to continue to live in the same residence while the divorce is pending. If you plan to leave the home, take as many of the items and personal possessions you will want to have now. Do not clean your spouse out. Be reasonable and fair. If your spouse objects to the items you are taking, leave them there and we will deal with it through the courts. DO NOT CREATE A SCENE.

If you are the party that is going to live in the residence, let your spouse take his or her personal items and any items that he or she may need while the divorce is pending. Be fair-minded, and consider that each of you must establish a new separate household.

Follow the Court's Temporary Orders to the Letter
When a temporary order is entered in your case, follow it to the letter. For example, if you are told to pick up your child at 6:00 p.m. the first Friday of the month this does not mean 5:50 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. If you have any questions concerning the meaning of the Temporary Orders, please contact your lawyer at once. If you are ordered to pay child support, or temporary spousal support, it is essential that you make those payments on the date specified. If your are the party receiving child support or temporary spousal support, notify your lawyer if your spouse falls behind for three weeks or more.

HOW TO FILL OUT YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION STATEMENT

In a suit for divorce, or in a petition to modify support, you will be asked to prepare a financial information statement for the court. The following instructions will help you to prepare the income and expense statements following this section.

You will need to estimate averages of some specific items in order to present information to the court. It is best to look over the last six to twelve months and average those amounts so that your figures will be accurate. Items which are easily averaged are utilities, telephone bills, gasoline, oil, groceries, and medical bills.

GUIDE TO THE MONTHLY EXPENSE WORKSHEET

A. RENTAL/MTG/HOUSEHOLD

  1. Rent/Mortgage/Insurance/Taxes -- If you pay rent, just list the rent that you are presently paying. A house payment typically includes interest, principal, taxes and insurance. However, if you pay taxes separately, please list that here. -- If you pay rent, just list the rent that you are presently paying. A house payment typically includes interest, principal, taxes and insurance. However, if you pay taxes separately, please list that here.
  2. Maintenance, Repairs and Service -- Many times things are overlooked in maintenance and repair which are not listed elsewhere. House repairs and maintenance include plumbing, electrical repair, air-conditioning, heating, appliance repair and service, lighting, exterminator service, pool, hot tub, burglar alarm. Services include yard maintenance, tree service, fertilizing, and spraying. -- Many times things are overlooked in maintenance and repair which are not listed elsewhere. House repairs and maintenance include plumbing, electrical repair, air-conditioning, heating, appliance repair and service, lighting, exterminator service, pool, hot tub, burglar alarm. Services include yard maintenance, tree service, fertilizing, and spraying.
  3. Utilities -- Utilities include gas, water, electricity, and trash. Remember that an average of utility costs based upon a six-month average of January through June may be less than the period that includes the hot summer months of July and August. We want to fairly represent to the court what your costs will be. -- Utilities include gas, water, electricity, and trash. Remember that an average of utility costs based upon a six-month average of January through June may be less than the period that includes the hot summer months of July and August. We want to fairly represent to the court what your costs will be.
  4. Telephone -- This is for basic service and long distance. Please average these expenses for at least six months, preferably longer. -- This is for basic service and long distance. Please average these expenses for at least six months, preferably longer.

B. AUTO

  1. Car payments -- Enter the amount of your car payment per month. -- Enter the amount of your car payment per month.
  2. Auto Insurance -- Call your auto insurance agent and ask what your insurance cost is going to be after the divorce. See what your insurance cost is at present so you will know if that expense will increase. If you have minor children who have driver's licenses, then determine what it will cost you to insure them also. Break it down and show insurance for you plus insurance for the children to equal the total insurance on a monthly basis. List the monthly total. -- Call your auto insurance agent and ask what your insurance cost is going to be after the divorce. See what your insurance cost is at present so you will know if that expense will increase. If you have minor children who have driver's licenses, then determine what it will cost you to insure them also. Break it down and show insurance for you plus insurance for the children to equal the total insurance on a monthly basis. List the monthly total.
  3. Gasoline and oil -- Try to use one credit card for all of your gasoline and oil so it will be easier to determine what your total costs are each month. List your average monthly cost. -- Try to use one credit card for all of your gasoline and oil so it will be easier to determine what your total costs are each month. List your average monthly cost.
  4. Maintenance and Repairs -- You may use the same credit card for this as for gasoline. It will be easy to determine the total costs of repairs only by reviewing the credit card bills and averaging the monthly costs. You may also need to include the cost of registration and inspections. -- You may use the same credit card for this as for gasoline. It will be easy to determine the total costs of repairs only by reviewing the credit card bills and averaging the monthly costs. You may also need to include the cost of registration and inspections.

C. INSURANCE

  1. Life -- If you have life insurance premiums taken out of your pay check, account for this here and not in the itemized "Monthly Income Worksheet". (You don't want to double list this item.) If you have a life insurance premium that is not deducted from your pay check, show the monthly cost. -- If you have life insurance premiums taken out of your pay check, account for this here and not in the itemized "Monthly Income Worksheet". (You don't want to double list this item.) If you have a life insurance premium that is not deducted from your pay check, show the monthly cost.
  2. Health -- If you have health insurance premiums taken out of your pay check, account for this here and not in the itemized "Monthly Income Worksheet". (You don't want to double list this item.) If you don't have your own health or hospitalization insurance, but coverage is dependent upon your spouse, as long as you are married, find out what separate coverage for yourself will cost. -- If you have health insurance premiums taken out of your pay check, account for this here and not in the itemized "Monthly Income Worksheet". (You don't want to double list this item.) If you don't have your own health or hospitalization insurance, but coverage is dependent upon your spouse, as long as you are married, find out what separate coverage for yourself will cost.
  3. Other - If you have other insurance such as disability insurance, liability insurance or insurance on antiques or jewelry, please make a detailed list on a separate sheet and we will include these expenses, if necessary. - If you have other insurance such as disability insurance, liability insurance or insurance on antiques or jewelry, please make a detailed list on a separate sheet and we will include these expenses, if necessary.

D. FOOD/GROCERIES

  1. Groceries -- Include all average monthly grocery expense for food and non-food items for each person who will be living in your household during the pendency of the divorce. If before your divorce suit four people's grocery expenses are reflected in your records and during the suit you will be providing food for three people, multiply your pre-divorce grocery expense records by 3/4. -- Include all average monthly grocery expense for food and non-food items for each person who will be living in your household during the pendency of the divorce. If before your divorce suit four people's grocery expenses are reflected in your records and during the suit you will be providing food for three people, multiply your pre-divorce grocery expense records by 3/4.
  2. School or Work Lunches -- Include the average monthly cost for each meal eaten outside the home including work lunches. -- Include the average monthly cost for each meal eaten outside the home including work lunches.

E. MEDICAL (Out of Pocket)

This is where you average uncovered doctor, dental, and drug costs including co-payments, and deductibles.

F. EDUCATION

Please include an average of the cost of school supplies, tuition payments, and activity fees.

G. PERSONAL

  1. Grooming -- Include monthly average for cut, color or other items you normally do. -- Include monthly average for cut, color or other items you normally do.
  2. Clothing -- Include monthly average for yourself and any of your children you regularly buy for. -- Include monthly average for yourself and any of your children you regularly buy for.
  3. Cleaning and Laundry -- This primarily refers to dry cleaning. Please include detergent and other incidentals with your average grocery -- This primarily refers to dry cleaning. Please include detergent and other incidentals with your average grocery
  4. Uniforms for Work -- If this is taken out of your paycheck, list it here rather than on your income worksheet. -- If this is taken out of your paycheck, list it here rather than on your income worksheet.

H. CHILD CARE

List your average monthly cost for babysitting or daycare so you can work.

I. ENTERTAINMENT

List the average costs of movies, cable or satellite, eating out or other activities.

J. DUES (Union or Professional)

If these are taken out of your paycheck, list it here rather than on your income worksheet

K. OTHER

Include the expenses of the pets, cell phone, credit cards, loan payments or any other items that would otherwise not be accounted for.


Anita K. Cutrer is a partner with Denton, Hoppes & Cutrer in Bedford, TX. She was named as one of the Top Attorneys in Family Law for 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas magazine.

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April 28, 2006

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