Status Quo Orders:
When a divorce or paternity action is initiated, the Court issues a “status quo” order. These orders govern the conduct of the parties during the pendency of the case and remain in effect until modified by the court or a final judgment is entered.
Failure to abide by them can result in court sanctions. Status quo orders often include provisions on:
- disposition of assets
- incurrence of additional debt
- destruction of records
- maintenance of insurance policies
- payment of child support
- parental responsibility
The purpose of these status quo orders are to (1) promote the stability of families engaged in the domestic relations actions; (2) provide guidance in an effort to help parties pattern their behavior and conduct in ways that reduce the negative impact that such proceedings have on the children and parties involved, and (3) reduce the number of emergency hearings during the beginning stages of dissolution of marriage and paternity actions.
Almost every county in Florida has its own version of a status quo order. Check your local clerk of court’s website to obtain a copy pertaining to your county.
What does it mean to maintain the status quo?
Here’s a typical scenario that shows the status quo order in action: Imagine a couple of files for divorce. During the marriage, the husband handled the finances and paid the bills, while the wife stayed home to raise the kids and take care of the house. After the divorce is filed, the husband must continue to pay the bills he was accustomed to paying while the parties’ were married. The wife must continue to care for the children as she did while the marriage was intact.
Example of the status quo order in action in paternity cases: Let’s say two parents have a minor child. They break up, and the father initiates a paternity action to establish legal rights with the child. The father would historically pick up the child from school every day, and have overnights with the child every other weekend. He will be allowed to continue this routine once the paternity action is initiated. The father may file a motion to enforce the status quo if the mother refuses to allow the father to see the child. The father can argue that maintaining this schedule is in the best interest of the minor child, as any change will disrupt the child’s stability.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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