When a divorce is filed in Bexar County, the couple’s actions throughout the divorce are guided by what’s called temporary orders. These orders help to keep matters between the divorcing parties civil, and include some basic rules to help the couple transition from marriage to divorce with as little rancor as possible. People in divorce may be inclined to act on bad impulses like draining joint savings accounts, talking negatively about the soon-to-be ex-spouse to the children, or refusing to give children over at the end of a visitation period; the temporary orders spell out clearly that this type of behavior is not allowed.
Temporary orders aim to be a one-size-fits-all legal document, covering issues that are most likely to threaten the civility of divorce proceedings and to protect everyone (especially the children) involved in a divorce. However, some divorces might require additional, specific language to achieve this–and while it’s possible to do so by going back and forth with lawyers to propose and counter-propose changes, mediation can be a more effective way to do this, by addressing specific needs up front.
When a party in a divorce seeks modifications to temporary orders, it’s either to gain additional control over the divorce process, or it’s because a component of the temporary orders is difficult to adhere to. I recall a recent situation with a client where the spouse was working long stretches of days in the oil fields, and needed a visitation schedule in the temporary orders that lined up with that.
When a couple comes together in mediation for temporary orders, they get to directly voice concerns and needs, and then work toward an acceptable solution. If a couple has a contentious relationship, the mediation process can set a tone for cooperation and negotiation that can then extend to the divorce process, regardless of which route they go. It is crucial that the parties are willing to listen to one another.
Remember: Most of the couples who go the litigation route will work out a settlement before they reach the courtroom. Though every divorce is different, those divorces that aren’t settled in a courtroom by a judge will reach some point where couples must meet each other at least partway. Mediation allows couples to do that, and if couples need it for the temporary order portion of the divorce and determine that it works, they should consider using it for the rest of the process.