What is the purpose of Standing Orders in a Texas Divorce or Child Custody case?

Depending upon in which county you reside in Texas, you may find that once you file for divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship-specific Orders from your court will immediately go into a place that affects you, your spouse, and your children. These orders are generally known as “Standing Orders.”

If you are the party that files the Petition, you will be known as the Petitioner, and it is your responsibility to make sure that a copy of the Standing Orders for your county is served upon your spouse or child’s other parent, depending on if your case is divorce or child custody case. The Standing Orders are typically lengthy and are not always easy to understand.

A quick and easy explanation is that the Standing Orders place restrictions upon you and the opposing party in your case as far as your behavior is concerned. Many clients have questions on what Standing Orders effect from my experience with helping people across southeast Texas with child custody and divorce cases. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss some of the more relevant portions of a Standing Order and how your life will be affected because of it.

The basics of a Standing Order

First of all-, if you are in southeast Texas, you may be wondering if your County actually has a Standing Order. Residents of Harris and Fort Bend counties do not have to concern themselves with Standing Orders. However- Chambers, Waller, Montgomery, and Liberty county residents will have Standing Orders apply to your case.

Generally speaking, the Standing Orders are intended to act as a placeholder until you and the opposing party in your case can either settle upon Temporary Orders or attending a hearing in which your judge will set out some Temporary Orders. However, the Standing Orders can remain in place for the duration of your divorce if neither you nor your spouse request that additional temporary orders be installed.

What are the main issues that Standing Orders are intended to take into consideration?

Maintaining the Status Quo with your children.

It is conceivable that you or the opposing party in your case could disrupt the lives of your children in some way as a result of a lawsuit having been filed. This could mean unenrolling them from school and not telling your spouse or the other parent where their new school is. This could mean outright taking the kids to your parent’s home in another state or another country. If these are concerns of yours heading into a divorce, then you can take solace in the fact that every county in Texas, even those without standing orders, take these concerns into account.

Another aspect of keeping the kids safe during the divorce or child custody case is ensuring that their parents mind their manners when in front of the children. This means not saying negative things about the other parent while in front of the child. This prohibition against making not so nice comments about each other will typically extend to both parents’ families. Your reaction to this protection may be the same as mine- how in the world can a court actually enforce this? I would agree that it is hard to prove that this portion of a standing order has been violated, but simply having it in place will keep many people from doing so.

Finally, if you are in a dating relationship with someone, a standing order in most counties will bar your significant other from being in your home when the children are with you during the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The specific hours may vary to a degree from county to county, but the purpose of this specific order is the same.

Your children don’t need to be exposed to any behavior during your legal case that may make them feel uncomfortable or confused about their safety. This part of a standing order is sometimes difficult for clients to understand. After all-, aren’t you an adult who has the ability to engage in relationships of your choosing? Well, while that may be true to an extent, once you enter into a legal case, you basically give up some of your autonomy for a short period of time. Think of it as a short term sacrifice to achieve a long term goal.

Property is to be maintained as much as possible during the course of your divorce or child custody case.

This section is important for people going through a divorce specifically. If you have any property, it is your duty to let your attorney know about it and to inventory it for the opposing party to review. You can also not sell, buy, or otherwise change the status of any property you have either.

A standing order will prevent you from racking up a bunch of debt on your credit card or taking out a loan at the bank. The bare essentials are what the court will want you and your opposing party to focus on during your divorce. Remember that all property is set to be divided after your divorce, and neither you nor your spouse will be able to get a good idea about what needs to be divided if you are not honest with the court about what is available- both in terms of your debts and property.

Questions about Standing Orders in your Divorce or Child Custody case? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

Many people focus on the beginning and end of their divorce or child custody case and gloss over the middle section. A standing order is intended to consider the need for people to continue to live “normal” lives during a family law case while balancing the need for stability and predictability in their cases.

If you have any questions about this subject, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed family lawattorneys are available to meet with you six days a week for a free charge consultation.

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