The divorce is filed. Now what?

You have filed for divorce or you have been visited by the sheriff and served with papers.  Now what?

You need to talk with your lawyer about filing for temporary relief.  Some lawyers refer to it as pendente lite relief.  This is just legal mumbo jumbo for relief pending the litigation.  There are several options available to seek relief from the court before the final decree is entered.

The first option is to file for a status quo order or other form of restraining order.  This is an order from the court to prohibit either party from disposing of assets without agreement or court approval.  Under the Family Court Rules in Kentucky that went into effect in January 2011, this is probably one of the easiest orders to secure.  A similar order automatically goes into effect when a new divorce is filed in Illinois.

You can also file for temporary child custody.  Generally, in Illinois and a growing number of courts in Kentucky, you will be required to go to mediation before the court conducts a temporary custody hearing.  If that does not work, many courts will only give you an abbreviated custody hearing where it can be difficult to present your entire custody case.  Depending on your case and circumstances this may or may not be a good thing.  Once a court has made a temporary custody decision it can be difficult to convince a judge to change his mind.  Therefore, you need to consult with your lawyer about the best strategy to pursue here.

You can also pursue a temporary child support order.  In Kentucky, this can even be done as by an ex parte motion.  This is a motion that is filed and ruled upon without notice to the other party.  The other party then has a limited amount of time to object to the child support order.  When you are the lesser wage earner in a relationship, it can be vital to get support started as soon as possible.

Another option may be to ask the court to assign use and possession of certain assets (houses, cars, other personal property) and allocate responsibility for maintaining debt during the course of the litigation.  This may be extremely important since a divorce case can go on for on average six to nine months, or even longer when a number of issues are involved and highly litigated.

As with all issues in your divorce case, it is essential to discuss your options with your divorce lawyer and lay out a plan to works with your overall strategy.

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