For the most part, when a couple is divorcing, they have already figured out who is going to live where by the time I get involved in the process. Typically, if the kids are going to be with one person more often, that parent is the one who stays in the house while the other moves out and finds an apartment.
However, if the couple cannot agree on the terms of the living arrangement on a temporary basis, there are steps to be taken.
File Temporary Orders
In Colorado, the quickest a divorce can be resolved is 91 days. More realistically, the case will be completely finished 5-7 months down the road (the process can be sped up significantly if you have a pre- or post-nuptial agreement in place).
The Court knows that people going through divorce cannot operate without ground rules in place. If the couple can’t agree on ground rules on their own (i.e., they can’t figure out who moves out and who stays in the house, or parenting time or finances are major issues), temporary orders may be issued by the Court as the divorce is pending. Temporary Orders will address questions such as:
- Who is going to stay in the marital residence and does the other party have to vacate the premises?
- Where will the kids primarily live and what time will they spend with the other party?
- Are there any limitations on visits, e.g., are visits supervised?
- What will the financial arrangements be?
Now, to be clear, temporary orders do not technically have any weight in the permanent orders. For instance, if one party is willing to move out in order to avoid a fight, that does not automatically mean that he or she is forfeiting the house for good. And same thing goes if that person has less time on the parenting schedule. [While the statutes indicate that temporary orders should not be considered at the time of permanent orders, you have to understand that, if things are going smoothly, the Court may consider that fact.]
Ideally, temporary orders are just that: temporary. They’re meant to help the family navigate the choppy waters of the divorce process.
Drawbacks of Temporary Orders
As much as possible, I recommend that my clients avoid temporary orders hearings. Sometimes that’s just not an option, but if you can come to an agreement with your spouse as to how you’ll live during the divorce process, that is best.
Why? Two reasons: a temporary orders hearing requires a contested Court hearing, which can cost thousands in attorneys’ fees. Secondly, remember that you’ll have to co-parent with this person after it’s all said and done, and the better you’re able to maintain your relationship, the easier time you’ll have down the road.
In my experience, no one goes to Court and says, “Judge, I should win.” Everyone says, “Judge, I should win and the other side is a bad person because of x, y and z…” And usually “x, y and z” are dark things, like “drinks too much,” and “has mental health issues,” etc. So imagine going to Court and ripping the other person to shreds, then walking out of the Courtroom and having to figure out how to co-parent with this person you’ve just publicly embarrassed and insulted. It makes for a very tricky situation to say the least. And, the other person has probably done the same thing to you.
As much as possible, work out your living situation without having to have temporary orders hearing. They will always raise the animosity and raise the expense; plus aren’t you better having a say into the issues rather than leaving them to a judge would doesn’t know either of the parties or the child(ren).
If you’re facing divorce and unsure how to move forward strategically, let’s talk. Call our office at 303-449-1873 for a free consultation today.