In family law, a “standing order” is an order that automatically takes effect upon the filing of a case and should be attached to the initial pleading (usually, the petition) filed, so that it can be served on the other party. Some counties have automatic standing orders, such as Dallas and Denton, while others, like Tarrant, do not. A standing order contains language that enjoins one party, or both, from specific acts. In this blog, our attorneys give a very brief, general overview of the basic steps involved with standing orders. As always, please consult with a family law attorney regarding your specific situation.
How Long Is a Standing Order in Effect?
If you read standing orders closely, you’ll see (usually towards the end of the document) that the orders remain in effect as a temporary restraining order (TRO) for 14 days. After the 14-day period, the standing order will become a temporary injunction if no one contests it.
What If My County Doesn’t Have Automatic Standing Orders?
In Tarrant County, and in other counties that don’t have automatic standing orders, the procedure is a little different. Generally, if a party wants to seek to enjoin the other party from certain conduct or acts, then a temporary restraining order is drafted and presented to the court to be signed by the Judge. The other party is then served with a temporary TRO and a hearing will be set by the court coordinator within 14 days. This hearing will determine if the TRO will stay in effect throughout the pendency of the case, or until further order of the court. There are no automatic standing orders in Tarrant for the protection of parties and preservation of property; you must affirmatively seek such relief from the court.
What Does the Standing Order Say?
Common language in standing orders includes language prohibiting one party from removing the other party from health insurance coverage prior to filing for divorce, for example. Another example, in a custody case, might involve language prohibiting withdrawing a child from the current school in which they are enrolled. The purpose of a standing order is to maintain, as best as can be maintained, the status quo of each party’s situation, including children as applicable, pending further orders from the court.