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Divorce, and divorce related proceedings are emotionally draining. Not only are you and your former spouse dealing with the logistics of separating your finances and property, and figuring out an arrangement for your children, but you are also experiencing extreme emotions. (For an in depth discussion about the emotional aspects of divorce, see this article – link – on our divorce page).

One of the things we suggest people consider when going through a divorce is to work out interim parenting agreements. When going through a particularly emotional time, rushing into major decisions about property division and custody can prove detrimental later on. Rather than seeking a permanent order to discuss custody, parties can use an interim agreement to handle current custody issues, and make major decisions by seeking a permanent order later on, when their judgment is less clouded by their emotions.

Parties can agree to a temporary custody arrangement by executing an informal interim custody, which both parties will agree to abide by. However, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on a temporary custody arrangement, you can petition to the court for an interim order.

With regard to custody orders, generally the standard used by the court is “the best interest of the child.” This same standard is used for interim orders; however, preservation of the status quo is also considered for these orders. This means, that unless one party can show that it is in the best interest of the child to make an immediate and sudden change to the child’s living arrangement, the status quo will be preferred until the case is litigated an a custody order is issued.

An interim agreement or order can be ideal because it does not suddenly upset the child’s day-to-day routine and allows for you and your former spouse to cool-off emotionally before making a major decision about custody. It is a perfect tool to address short-term living arrangements and custody of children whose parents are separating and divorcing.

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