By: Christina Pashou, Esq.
The length of time it will take for your divorce to be complete cannot be mapped out in advance. While at first there may be limited issues, along the way other matters may become contested or be subject to negotiation. When either you or your spouse files for divorce, you will receive a Track Assignment. The Track Assignment will state the expected track of your case, which is usually 14 to 18 months. Often times this period can be longer or shorter, depending on the how your matter proceeds and the complexity of the issues of your divorce.
If at any point in time you and your spouse come to an agreement on certain items, whether it is a parenting schedule, fair market value of property, or who will pay for certain expenses, a Stipulation may be filed with the Court and entered as a Court Order. The language contained within an order defines the tasks and behaviors the parties must follow for months – or even years – as the case advances towards settlement or trial. Failure to adhere to any order may result in a contempt action filed by the party who is affected by the other’s willful disobedience of the Court Order.
The defining moments in many divorce cases occur at temporary order hearings. Temporary orders set the tone for the remainder of the case and are in effect until a final agreement by the parties or judgment of the Court following trial. Often, the temporary orders are entered within the first six weeks of a case, after a party files a Motion for Temporary Orders. Such orders can dictate parenting time, child support, alimony and division of assets, if applicable. Temporary orders come in several forms. They may be a stipulation, a partial stipulation and a court order, or simply a court order in which the judge temporarily decides all of the contested issues.
A court order, regardless if it is a result of a stipulation, represents an enforceable order that is specific to a particular case. What your order says becomes the law for you and your spouse. The fact that you and your spouse negotiated the terms of an agreement, does not limit the enforceability of an order, once the agreement has been incorporated into a court order. Therefore, coming to agreements during your divorce is always a positive progression towards resolution of your case.
To speak with a lawyer about divorce or other family law matter, contact Mavrides Law in Boston, Newton, or the South Shore. To schedule an in-depth initial consultation, call 617-723-9900 or contact the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org