During a divorce case, it is common for attorneys and judges to talk about the importance of “maintaining the status quo,” especially if there are children involved.
When a divorce case also concerns child custody, judges are tasked with looking out for the best interests of the children. Usually, judges believe that divorce is hard enough on the kids without adding additional stressors like a change is their home or their school. As a result, most judges will work to make sure that the children have as much continuity and stability as possible.
This means that the parent who is requesting that the children move or change schools will often face a tough battle. Instead, the judge will usually look more favorably on requests that allow the children to stay where they are.
For that reason, it is important for parents not to make any major moves before the divorce. For example, if the father moves out of the family residence and rents an apartment, most judges will not force the children to also move out of their home in order to move in with their dad. Instead, the judge will maintain the children’s status quo and allow them to stay in their same home. Parents who want to have primary residential custody of their children should stay in the family residence unless ordered to leave by a judge.
It is also common for judges to grant temporary orders which will keep the family running during the divorce case. The soon-to-be ex-spouses will usually be ordered to continue paying the mortgage or rent, and one spouse may be ordered to pay temporary support payments to the other to help cover the household’s bills. While these temporary support orders will not last forever, they will at least give the divorcing couple time to come up with a plan of action that will allow both parents to continue caring for the children after the divorce.
In addition, a judge will often grant mutual restraining orders against each spouse during one of the first hearings in the case. These orders are meant to prevent each person from taking actions which may harm the family. For example, both spouses may be enjoined from accessing funds in joint savings or investment accounts. Or, each person may be enjoined from taking the other off of health insurance or auto insurance policies.
Because maintaining the status quo is a primary concern during the beginning stages of a divorce, each spouse should be sure not to make any changes before the divorce that they cannot live with during and after divorce. Even if it is difficult to continue living in the same house with your soon-to-be ex, making changes to the family’s living arrangements or finances before a divorce is finalized can have long-term consequences.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we understand how emotional and trying the divorce process can be. Our experienced family law attorneys can work with you and your former partner to come to an agreement about your living arrangement and marital property, and will help you get the closure you need to move on from your marriage.
For help with your situation, contact us today by calling 509-572-3700.