The divorce process gives couples a way to dissolve the bonds of marriage, divide their property and plan custody arrangements for their children. However, the divorce process can be long, taking several months or more. Oklahoma spouses may benefit from temporary orders a judge issues while the divorce is pending, addressing such issues as child support, spousal support, health insurance and medical expenses.
When a spouse files a Petition for Divorce in an Oklahoma court, an automatic temporary restraining order, or injunction, goes into effect immediately. This injunction prevents both spouses from taking certain actions while the divorce is pending, including disposing of marital assets, hiding money, harassing each other, making significant changes to retirement accounts and changing medical or other insurance.
Automatic injunctions do not cover child support or spousal support while the divorce is pending, so spouses must file a request for temporary orders if they wish to receive support before the divorce is final. Either spouse can file a request with the court where the divorce is pending. The filing spouse must serve the other spouse with a copy of the request and notice of the hearing date at least five days prior to the hearing.
Contents of Orders
Temporary orders can cover a wide range of topics, depending on the needs of each family. If spouses are concerned about health care costs while the divorce is pending, the orders can indicate which spouse is responsible to pay for health insurance and medical expenses for the couple’s children and other spouse, particularly if she is uninsured. The orders can also divide the costs between the spouses.
Oklahoma courts can use Oklahoma’s child support and spousal support calculation methods to determine how much support to include in a temporary order. While child support is determined by a specific statutory formula, there is no established formula for spousal support so judges must consider several factors before reaching a spousal support decision. However, unless the spouses agree to permanent spousal support, an Oklahoma judge cannot order either spouse to pay spousal support permanently as part of a temporary order or divorce decree.