What Are Standing Orders and How Do They Affect My Life During a Divorce?

What Are Standing Orders and How Do They Affect My Life During a Divorce?

Standing orders are like the unsung heroes of divorce, silently dictating the rules and providing a semblance of order in the midst of the storm. Filing a divorce means that your life, for some time, will be dictated by people, events, and rules that you have only indirect control over.

One of the things that we take for granted, or at least took for granted, before this pandemic was the ability to make decisions for ourselves. Having autonomy over our lives and our children is a hallmark of being an American and a Texan. Getting up and go, making changes in our employment, and exercising our rights to determine the future course of our lives are benefits of living in this country.

Standing Divorce: An Overview

Embarking on a divorce journey, regardless of your location in southeast Texas, means adapting to a set of predefined rules. These guidelines, whether you’re in Harris, Montgomery, or Galveston County, ensure a level of consistency and stability in your household throughout the divorce process.

Often overlooked, this aspect of divorce necessitates a significant shift in your daily life. Beyond the more apparent changes, like child visitation schedules or relocating, the adoption of Standing Orders and temporary mandates is a critical element in this transition.

The divorce process can be likened to childhood games—both involving not just potential conflicts but also the need for rules. Establishing clear rules from the outset, albeit cumbersome, tends to enhance the experience, reducing chaos and confusion. In contrast, improvising rules can lead to a less enjoyable and more disorderly game.

Similarly, in a divorce, the presence (or absence) of structured rules profoundly impacts the process. Unlike childhood games, the stakes are higher, with more complex variables and significant repercussions for both parties involved.

Without clear guidelines, legal challenges such as non-payment of child support or household bills can arise. Additionally, uncertainties in personal aspects, like child custody exchanges and parenting time division, can add to the turmoil.

To navigate these complexities, temporary and standing orders offer crucial guidance. They provide a framework for decision-making, fostering consistency and predictability in this tumultuous period. Today’s blog post delves into the significance of Standing Orders and their role in streamlining your divorce experience.

What is the Standing Order?

A standing order is a court order that goes into effect as soon as your divorce case begins. When you file for divorce, the Original Petition for Divorce includes a Standing Order. Not all counties in Texas have standing orders, however. For example, Harris County does not have standing orders, but Montgomery County does. The same general principles apply to any county, no matter if they have standing or temporary orders. These orders are important and will be a part of your life and case from the moment they go into effect.

Counties with standing orders will likely have temporary orders that go into effect at some point, as well. You and your spouse bear the responsibility of negotiating the terms of your temporary orders, particularly when addressing issues not covered by the standing orders. For example, you might need to detail household bills or other expenses in your temporary orders. That is no problem since standing orders are very general due to their need to cover several subjects likely to apply in a wide range of divorce cases.

Standing orders typically cover a range of topics. Children are probably the most frequently cited topic, followed by property provisions. Remember that your county may not have standing orders, or your county’s standing orders may not cover these topics. It is best to speak with an attorney, like one with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, who has experience handling divorce cases in your area, to gain a better understanding of what you will likely encounter for your divorce.

Leave them, kids, alone!

What Are Standing Orders and How Do They Affect My Life During a Divorce?

In the spirit of Pink Floyd, courts emphasize the importance of a stable learning environment for children amidst a divorce. Your children are already adapting to significant changes; hence, the court insists on minimal disruptions, particularly in their education. Consequently, during the divorce proceedings, removing your children from the State of Texas is generally prohibited, maintaining their educational and emotional stability.

However, there are exceptions. With your spouse’s consent, or under special circumstances, such as a court’s approval to establish your child’s primary residence in another state, travel outside Texas may be permitted. This scenario, while not typical, can occur, especially in cases where families have recently relocated for work or other reasons.

Child abduction threats during divorce are a serious concern. Standing orders are in place to mitigate this risk, prohibiting a parent from taking the children without informing the other. While not foolproof, these orders serve as a deterrent against impulsive decisions that could harm the children’s well-being.

Another crucial aspect of these orders is the mandate against using negative language about the other parent in the children’s presence. It’s understandable that a contentious divorce can lead to harsh words, but it’s vital to shift your perspective. Rather than viewing your partner solely as a soon-to-be ex-spouse, consider them as the co-parent of your child. This shift in perspective can significantly influence the language used and the overall atmosphere around your children.

Remember, the primary focus during these challenging times should be on ensuring a sense of normalcy and security for your children. By adhering to these guidelines and maintaining a respectful co-parenting relationship, you can help ease their transition through the divorce process.

Maintaining Civility: The Role of Standing Orders

Standing orders play a crucial role in ensuring that both parties maintain a civil demeanor throughout the divorce process. Given the emotional strain of divorce, it’s common for individuals to feel pushed to their limits. However, it’s essential to remember that animosity, especially between spouses, needs to be kept in check. Standing orders often include clauses that mandate respectful communication, whether in person, via email, or text messaging. It’s wise to consider that any written communication might be presented in court, so always communicate thoughtfully.

Privacy and Respect: Avoiding Unethical Behavior

A key component of civil behavior during a divorce involves respecting each other’s privacy. This means refraining from monitoring each other’s computer usage, emails, or opening personal mail. While it might be tempting to engage in such activities, they often backfire and can lead to complications in court proceedings.

Real-Life Lessons: Learning from Others’ Mistakes

A Cautionary Tale: The Consequences of Impulsive Actions

This section narrates a real-life example involving a client who was working out of state during his divorce. His experience of finding his personal safe tampered with by his spouse serves as a stark reminder of the repercussions of impulsive actions in a divorce. It underscores the importance of adhering to standing orders and acting within legal boundaries.

Accountability and Ethics: Guiding Principles in Divorce

The story emphasizes that one’s actions during a divorce are not only subject to legal scrutiny but also moral and ethical considerations. The consequences of underhanded actions can be severe, both legally and in terms of personal reputation. It’s vital to contemplate the impact of your actions on your children and how they might be perceived by a judge.

Comprehensive Overview: Exploring All Facets of Divorce

The final section highlights the need for a thorough understanding of all aspects of the divorce process, beyond the scope of standing orders. This comprehensive approach includes the legalities of filing for divorce, post-divorce considerations, and the overall impact on all parties involved.

What Are Standing Orders and How Do They Affect My Life During a Divorce?

Filing for divorce involves a series of steps that vary depending on the jurisdiction. It starts with filing a petition for divorce, which initiates the legal process. The petitioner serves the other party with the divorce papers, and the respondent has the opportunity to respond to the petition. Court hearings may be scheduled to address various issues, such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support. Understanding the legal process is crucial to navigating a divorce case’s complexities.

Division of Assets and Debts

One critical aspect of divorce is the division of marital assets and debts. This process often involves determining what is considered community property and how it should be divided between the spouses. In some jurisdictions, community property laws dictate an equal split of assets acquired during the marriage. In other jurisdictions following equitable distribution principles, the court considers various factors to determine a fair division of assets and debts. Complex assets like businesses or investments may require expert evaluation to ensure a just division.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody is often one of a divorce’s most emotionally charged and challenging aspects. Parents must decide on custody arrangements that serve the best interests of their children. Different types of custody, including physical and legal custody, come into play. Courts consider factors such as the child’s well-being, existing relationships, and parental capabilities when determining custody. Creating a parenting plan that outlines visitation schedules, decision-making responsibilities, and methods of dispute resolution is crucial for maintaining stability and promoting the child’s welfare.



Types of Custody

– Physical custody: Determines where the child will live and with whom

– Legal custody: Involves decision-making authority for the child’s education, healthcare, religion, etc.

Factors Considered by the Court

– Child’s best interests: Court assesses factors such as the child’s age, physical and emotional well-being, relationships with parents, and stability

– Parental capabilities: Evaluates each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs and provide a suitable environment

Creating a Parenting Plan

– Establishing visitation schedules: Outlining when and how the noncustodial parent will spend time with the child

– Decision-making responsibilities: Determining how major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing will be made

Methods of Dispute Resolution

– Mediation: Involves a neutral third party assisting parents in reaching mutually acceptable agreements

– Collaborative divorce: Emphasizes cooperation and problem-solving through negotiations between spouses and their attorneys

Child Support

Child support is another critical issue that arises during divorce proceedings. It ensures that both parents contribute to the financial well-being of their children. Child support calculation typically considers factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children, and the custody arrangement. Enforcement measures are in place to ensure that child support payments are made, including wage garnishment, property liens, and the suspension of driver’s licenses. Modifications of child support orders may be requested if there are substantial changes in circumstances.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

In some cases, spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded to one spouse to provide financial assistance after divorce. Factors determining eligibility for spousal support include the length of the marriage, the income disparity between spouses, and the recipient’s ability to become self-sufficient. Spousal support can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Parties can seek modifications to spousal support orders if there are significant changes in income or other relevant factors.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

While the article focuses on standing orders, it fails to discuss alternative divorce dispute resolution methods. Mediation and collaborative divorce are valuable options for couples seeking a less adversarial approach. Mediation involves a neutral third party assisting the couple in reaching mutually acceptable agreements. Collaborative divorce involves negotiations between the spouses and their attorneys, emphasizing cooperation and problem-solving. These alternative dispute resolution methods can reduce conflict, save time and money, and empower the parties to make decisions that meet their unique needs.

Impact of Divorce on Taxes

Divorce can have significant tax implications that should not be overlooked. Changes in filing status, deductions, and child-related tax credits can affect each party’s tax obligations. Understanding the tax considerations during and after divorce is crucial to make informed financial decisions. Seeking professional tax advice is recommended to ensure compliance with tax laws and to maximize available deductions and credits.

Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Divorce

Divorce is not merely a legal process; it also carries emotional and psychological challenges for individuals and their children. Coping with the emotional impact of divorce is essential for moving forward and rebuilding one’s life. Support resources, such as counseling, therapy, and support groups, can provide guidance and solace during this difficult time. Recognizing the importance of self-care and emotional well-being can contribute to a healthier transition.

International or Interstate Divorce

For couples facing international or interstate divorce, additional complexities arise. Jurisdictional issues, enforcement of court orders across borders, and adherence to international conventions, such as the Hague Convention on child abduction, require careful consideration. Seeking legal advice from professionals experienced in international family law is essential to navigate the unique challenges posed by these types of cases.

Post-Divorce Considerations

The article primarily focuses on standing orders and temporary orders during the divorce process but neglects to address post-divorce considerations. After the divorce is finalized, there are still aspects that need attention. Modifying court orders, addressing co-parenting challenges, and adjusting to a new life after divorce require careful planning and communication. Seeking legal guidance during this phase can help navigate potential issues and ensure a smoother transition.

While the article you provided touches on standing orders, it fails to explore several important subtopics related to the divorce process. Understanding the legal process, division of assets, child custody, child support, spousal support, alternative dispute resolution, tax implications, emotional aspects, international or interstate divorce, and post-divorce considerations are all crucial for individuals going through a divorce. By addressing these topics comprehensively, individuals can be better prepared to navigate the complexities of divorce and make informed decisions that shape their future.


n conclusion, standing orders are not merely legal formalities; they are pivotal guidelines that shape your journey through the tumultuous terrain of divorce. Understanding their purpose and the substantial impact they have on daily life is crucial for anyone navigating this challenging process. These orders serve as a beacon, ensuring that both parties maintain a level of civility and respect, which is especially critical when emotions run high.

By setting clear boundaries and expectations for behavior, standing orders help mitigate the potential for conflict and unethical actions. They emphasize the importance of preserving the children’s well-being and maintaining a stable environment for them. Moreover, these orders underscore the necessity of accountability and ethical conduct during a period where judgment can be clouded by emotional turmoil.

Remember, the ultimate goal of standing orders is not to restrict but to provide a framework for fair and respectful conduct. They remind us that, even in the midst of personal upheaval, we must uphold a standard of decency and responsibility, not just for our own sake, but for the sake of our families and the legal process itself.


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