A divorce, as most divorcing couples are sure to find out, is not just a single action but a series of connected actions all strung together. Any time something important happens or an agreement is reached, the judge issues an order. This process of hearings and orders goes on past the date of the final decree, particularly if you have minor children. To find out more about divorce orders and what might happen if they are not obeyed, read on.
Divorce Orders to Expect
You will encounter divorce orders after one of you speaks to a lawyer. Orders happen during the separation period and during the time when the divorce is being settled. The final decree contains all orders currently in force. Finally, any time children are involved, orders can continue to happen when issues about child support, visitation, and child custody resurface. On the other hand, if you do not have minor-aged children, have little to no property or joint debts, and are in agreement on every issue, the only order that matters is the final decree.
During the separation period, you might see these orders:
- Temporary custody and visitation orders.
- Temporary child support orders.
- Temporary spousal support (alimony) orders.
- Financial disclosure orders.
- Orders pertaining to use of the family home or vehicle.
- Orders pertaining to debt payments.
Once the divorce is underway, you might see these orders:
- Child custody orders.
- Visitation schedule orders.
- Child support orders.
- Rehabilitative or permanent spousal support orders.
- Orders to pay a debt.
- Marital property settlement agreement orders.
- Qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO).
What Happens When Orders Are Not Followed
Technically, when an order is not followed, it's contempt of court. That being said, the judge may be lenient depending on the seriousness of the consequences. Matters involving children are always more serious. Often, in family matters, judges give the parties a warning and instructions for a first-time offense. When it comes to child support, though, the consequences are mandated by federal and state laws and can be very serious indeed. For the judge to throw the book at a party, the below situations may be present:
- The party had knowledge of and understood the order.
- The party violated the order and did not have a good reason to do so.
In most cases, punishment for family court order violation penalties come after the party has repeatedly disregarded the order, harm has come to a child, or other willful actions occur contradictory to the orders.
Most divorces are made up of orders and some of them can be difficult to follow and understand. To find out more, speak to your divorce lawyer.