What is a Preliminary Order?

Posted By : admin
Category : Divorce/Family Law
01 - Oct - 2015

If you have just started the process of divorce or are thinking about filing for divorce in Indiana, you have probably wondered how the process works.  Once a divorce is filed there are a lot of unknowns.  For example, who will pay the mortgage?  Who will pick up the kids from soccer practice?  What if one spouse is about to move out?  Can he or she take the dining room to the new place?  A preliminary order is a court order that makes the determination of all of these issues for the parties.  The preliminary order remains the guideline for the parties until the final decree or settlement is signed by the judge.  So, for the pendency of the divorce, the rights and responsibilities of the parties are determined through this order.

A preliminary hearing is typically the first hearing scheduled after a divorce petition is filed.  In Indiana, it is common for attorneys to negotiate a preliminary order on behalf of their clients.  If the parties, through their divorce attorneys, are able to come to a preliminary agreement it will save them both time and money because it will allow for a formal hearing to be waived.  Or, if the parties can’t come to an agreement on a preliminary order, there will be a preliminary hearing before the judge and he or she will enter a preliminary order after hearing evidence presented by both sides.  These hearings are normally 30 minutes to one (1) hour.  It is worth noting that property division is not decided at these hearings.  For example, while the judge would order who is required to make a house payment, he or she would not make a decision regarding division of home equity at a preliminary hearing.

It is also worth noting that simply because one thing is ordered by the Court at the preliminary hearing, it does not mean that the Court’s final order will have the same language.  For example, if husband is required to make wife’s car payment during the pendency of the divorce, it does not necessarily mean that husband will be ordered to continue making wife’s car payment post-bankruptcy.  The Court may make a different decision or the parties may agree to a different outcome in the end.

If you are a Hamilton, Boone, or Marion County, Indiana resident and would like to file for divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce, call Halcomb Singler at (317) 575-8222.  Our attorneys can meet with you at our Carmel, Indiana office to review your case and answer your questions during divorce.  There is a $200.00 fee to meet with an attorney, which will be credited in the amount you retain Halcomb Singler for your divorce.  We look forward to working to move toward a favorable resolution for your divorce case with reasonable attorney fees.