During divorce and breakups, child custody battles often become heated and contentious affairs. In some situations in Oregon, the court may issue temporary orders lasting the duration of a case. This may include temporary custody arrangements or even implement temporary child support. If a child is in immediate danger, emergency orders remove them from such potential harm. However, if you’re trying to keep a child’s living situation and routine in place, a status quo order may be in line.
So many divorces and separations start with one parent taking the kids from the other parent, pulling them out of school, hiding them, and the like. A status quo order can serve almost as an effective, inexpensive “light duty” custody order. Though it doesn’t confer custody, it can prevent one parent yanking the child from their current routine and schedule and keeps the child in the home.
What Is A Status Quo Order?
A Latin term, status quo means the existing state of affairs, the way things are. In a legal setting, judges use a status quo order—also called a temporary protective order of custody and restraint—to maintain a situation. This prevents parties involved in affecting change until the matter at hand is resolved. Until further judgment arrives, these can preserve the living arrangement, parenting time, and maintenance support.
When it comes to family law, like divorce and child custody matters, the court may issue a status quo order for a number of reasons. These orders are designed to protect minor children during the legal process. A status quo order may prevent one parent from taking the child from a home or area without the other’s consent. Once issued, this decree stays in place until the parents agree on a parenting plan or the court issues temporary custody orders.
What A Status Quo Order Does
- Changing the child’s usual place of residence;
- Interfering with the child’s present placement and daily schedule;
- Hiding or secreting the child from the other party;
- Interfering with the other party’s usual contact and parenting time with the child’;
- Leaving the state with the child without the written permission of the other party or the court; or
- In any manner disturbing the child’s current schedule and daily routine until custody or parenting time has been determined.
Objecting To A Status Quo Order
A status quo order takes into account parenting time, custody, and school location for the three months prior to the request. But what if you object to the status quo as laid out in the status quo order?
For example, your ex serves you with a status quo order saying she doesn’t want to upset your daughter’s routine and that she has custody five days a week, but that’s never been the case. Fortunately, you can raise objections to how the status quo is portrayed.
As with most legal matters, you must prove your claims. You need to provide your own version. Any documentation you have helps solidify your assertion in this area. It may be in your best interest to hold onto things that show the reality of your situation and refute your ex’s statement. Also, you can call on reliable witnesses to back up your side of the story.
Immediacy Of A Status Quo Order
One of the big benefits of a status quo order is the immediacy. You or any party served with a status quo order has the right to request a hearing. In Oregon, the courts must make a reasonable effort to schedule the hearing within 14 days. At the outside, a hearing must take place no later than 21 days after the court receives the request.
While this doesn’t award custody, it does cut the legs out of the bad actor. You go to court almost immediately. Without a status quo order, you often have to wait 30 to 60 days, depending on the county, for a temporary orders hearing.
Like temporary protection measures, the intent of a status quo order is to further a child’s best interests. This can be to protect them from a potentially harmful situation, as in situations of abuse or neglect, or to ensure stability during a tumultuous time.
As with most legal matters, there are many boxes to check off and things can get complicated in a hurry. Whichever side you fall on, you must substantiate your position and provide proof of your claims. Improper use of such orders can have an impact down the road. It may influence the final decision from the court, impact the ultimate parenting plan, or you may even have to pay your ex’s attorney fees. Hiring an experienced lawyer is often in your best interest.
If you have questions about your child custody case, feel free to contact Goldberg Jones at our Portland office.