You are here: Divorce & Family Law >> Divorce >> Temporary Orders

Temporary Orders

Temporary, or interim orders, are put in place to fix the rights and obligations of the divorcing couple before their divorce is finalized. Divorce petitions typically contain requests for certain judicial orders to preserve the spouse's property and protect the parties. Additionally, the payment of the bills, maintenance payments to a spouse and establishment of child visitation are all matters handled through temporary orders.

Temporary orders provide a measure of stability for one or both of the spouses. For instance, a stay-at-home mother without an income could not continue to live in the house with the children unless the husband continued to pay the mortgage. The court's orders requiring that the mortgage payments be made allow the wife and children to stay in the home without further anxiety or disruption.

Can the judge enter a temporary order requiring my husband and me to attend counseling?

Yes. A court can make any orders it believes are in the best interests of the parties.

Temporary spousal support

If a spouse qualifies, she may receive support payments from her husband until the divorce is finalized. Laws refer to these payments as "temporary alimony," "temporary support" or "spousal maintenance." In general, the spouse with the greater income makes some sort of monthly payment to the other spouse. The purpose of temporary support is to keep the parties at approximately the same financial level they were in before the divorce was filed until a divorce is granted.

Eligibility for spousal support payments depends on:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the couple's standard of living;
  • the lack of employment or sufficient income;
  • physical or mental disability; and
  • the age and health of the spouse.

The court also weighs how much one spouse contributed to the other's education or training. For example, a wife who worked while her husband went to medical school may get a larger support payment to compensate her for her past contributions. Additionally, women who have taken a hiatus from their careers to have and raise children may be due more support because their skills are not as marketable.

I've always been a stay-at-home mom. Can I continue to stay at home and receive spousal support during our divorce?

No. If you have the education or skills to find employment, you must go back to work and earn some income. Your husband is not under a duty to completely support you during the divorce.

SIDEBAR: Laws do not favor spousal support, and unless the spouse requesting support can show that he has sought out employment or is acquiring the skills, through schooling or training, necessary to find a job, the court will not award full support.

My wife has supported us while I've been working on getting a college degree. Do I have to stop going to school and get a job?

No. Your degree substantially increases your ability to support yourself. You may be required to find part-time employment, but the court will probably order your wife to make some payments so you can continue your education.

Can temporary support be extended after the divorce is granted?

No. After the divorce is final, the spouse will either receive permanent spousal support (known as alimony) or the payments will be terminated completely.

SIDEBAR: The laws in some states limit the duration of spousal support once the divorce is granted to a period of 2-3 years, unless the spouse has a physical disability.

Temporary restraining orders

Because divorce is acrimonious, laws have been enacted prohibiting or restraining divorcing spouses from taking certain actions during litigation. The parties may not:

  • use vulgar, obscene or profane language when communicating with each other;
  • threaten unlawful actions;
  • place repeated telephone calls with the intention of annoying or alarming the other spouse;
  • cause, either by intent or recklessness, a child of the marriage to be physically harmed;
  • conceal or hide property belonging the spouses;
  • damage either person's property; or
  • falsify or destroy records or other documents.

Most divorce petitions include a "laundry list" of prohibitions that eventually become part of the court's temporary orders even where the spouses are cooperative.

My wife keeps calling me in violation of the temporary restraining order. What can I do?

You must notify your lawyer or the court. Your wife is violating the temporary orders and, by doing so, she is in contempt of court. The judge has the authority to place her in jail unless she stops making the calls.

Temporary injunction

An injunction is a judicial order prohibiting a specific action by one of the parties. During a divorce action, the injunction serves to preserve the couple's property and keep one spouse from wasting or disposing of it. For example, the husband may be enjoined from withdrawing money from the spouse's savings account.

A protective order is a type of temporary injunction. It is used to restrain one spouse from committing or threatening to commit violent acts when there is a history of family violence.

SIDEBAR: A protective order is available any time violence has occurred or is likely to occur. Filing for divorce is not necessary.

TIP: A protective order can be obtained after a divorce is finalized.

TIP: A protective order can direct that the spouse's gun license be suspended.

South Carolina Divorce Forms


South Carolina Divorce $59.00
SC MSA $49.00
SC Divorce & MSA Combo (best value) $89.00

Try before you buyStart Now

SmartLegalForms, Inc., Legal Forms, Baltimore, MD
Fast, Easy, Affordable South Carolina Divorce Forms
Start Now