Physical and financial protection

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
In some divorces, one or both spouses may feel that they need physical or financial protection. Before the couple has a divorce court hearing, either spouse may take out a temporary order against the other spouse. For example, one spouse can ask the court to order or restrain the other spouse from coming near or contacting him or her temporarily, or, if he or she hasn't already done so, to move out of the family home. Temporary restraining orders are usually obtained if one spouse feels the other may cause physical harm to him or her, or to the couple's children. If one spouse works and the other doesn't, the unemployed spouse can go to court to request a temporary spousal support order from a judge, even though a formal divorce action has not yet been filed. This allows the unemployed spouse to go through divorce proceedings before finding a job. Temporary orders may also establish child custody and visiting arrangements, provide spousal support or alimony payments, order either spouse not to sell valuable assets, or give possession of the family home or car to one of the spouses. A hearing concerning the temporary order can often be scheduled within days or weeks. These temporary orders are usually valid until the court holds another hearing or until the spouses arrive at their own long-term settlement through negotiation or mediation. Any temporary order may be extended into a permanent order.

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