Having temporary child custody orders in effect before your divorce is finalized can prevent a lot of headaches. Not only can it help avoid misunderstandings with the other parent, it can also give you some recourse if the other parent doesn't comply with an agreed upon custody arrangement.

A temporary child custody order can be established as part of your divorce petition, a restraining order (if your state permits it), or as a totally separate court order. Like the name implies, temporary child custody is not a permanent custody determination. Final custody will be determined in either the divorce proceedings or during a custody trial.

The following questions illustrate the importance of having temporary child custody orders in place when the parents are no longer living together:

※ How can I keep him from taking our son while we are separated?
Jessica's Question: We're separated and there are no court orders in effect. He has told me many times that he is going to take off with our son. Do I have to let him see our 6 month old? I told him that he could come here to see him, but he will not go for that. I am worried that he will take off with him and not let me see our baby.

Brette Answers: You need to head to family court and get an order of custody ASAP. Right now, you both have equal rights to your child. He could take your son and until you get a court order, there would not be much you could do. Go to court and ask for a temporary order immediately. If he contests it, you'll need to have a trial to decide the custody issue. Consulting with an attorney would be a good idea.
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