What Standing Domestic Relations Orders Do
The importance that standing domestic relations orders in a divorce can have in a case cannot be overstated because they do a number of things right off the bat.
- First, they freeze assets. Standing domestic relations orders don’t say that assets can't be used. Rather, the judge basically says, "Do not go squander this money." If you do, it can be held against you at trial and penalized against you. You can also be held responsible for sold assets and have to provide an accounting for where each and every dollar went. Once a standing domestic relations order freezing assets is in place, you can hold someone in contempt if they violated the order by spending, squandering, or concealing that money.
- Second, they preserve financial obligations. Standing domestic relations orders say that the insurances and the utilities and the mortgages that are being paid must continue to be paid.
- Finally, they preserve the status quo for child custody. A typical standing domestic relations order prevents the parties from leaving the county with their child or children for some sort of permanent residential change. You can't move the kids from Collier to Hillsborough, and you can't move the kids from Lee to Orange. You can take them out of county to go to Disney World for a visit, but you can't move there permanently and keep them there. Additionally, you can't take a child out of state without court permission. So it puts a freeze on things.
How to Get a Standing Domestic Relations Order
You have to file a petition in the circuit court, either for divorce or paternity and serve it on the other party. There's a gray area between (1) when you serve the petition, (2) when it's filed, and (3) when it's effective. However, the bottom line is you don't have a standing order until you get a standing order—and you don't get one until you file your case.
So make sure that you're aware of the risks that come with proceeding without a standing order being issued because you can potentially prejudice your case financially. Alternatively, if the children get moved or the children get out of the state or out of the county or out of the country.
We have seen clients lose substantial sums of money merely trying to get children back, rather than first obtaining a standing order to keep them here. It wasn't our advice to forego such an order, but sometimes clients come to us too late or decide for some reason not to get a standing order. So keep in mind the consequences of passing on getting a standing domestic relations order and always value the benefits and stability they can bring to your case.
Get Quality Advice from Family First Legal Group
If you have questions about your divorce or other family law dispute, you should consult an experienced Naples attorney at Family First Legal Group. We have experience helping clients through a variety of legal disputes. We understand the critical matters involved with divorce and family law disputes and can guide you through the complex legal and emotional issues.