What are standing orders in Texas divorces?

Understanding Standing Orders in Texas Family Law Cases: A Comprehensive Guide


Family law cases can often be emotionally charged and complex, involving a wide range of issues such as divorce, child custody, spousal support, and property division. To maintain stability and protect the interests of all parties involved, the Texas legal system has established a crucial tool known as “standing orders.” In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of standing orders in Texas family law cases, their significance, and how they function to ensure fairness and order throughout the legal process.

What are Standing Orders?

Standing orders, in the context of Texas family law, are a set of temporary, standardized rules that automatically apply to both parties in a family law case as soon as the case is filed with the court. These orders are designed to maintain the status quo, preserve the well-being of any children involved, and prevent any party from taking unilateral actions that could adversely impact the case or the parties’ interests.

Types of Family Law Cases Covered by Standing Orders

Standing orders apply to a variety of family law cases, including:

  1. Divorce: When a couple files for divorce, standing orders come into effect to prevent either party from making drastic changes to their financial or personal situation.
  2. Child Custody and Visitation: Standing orders help maintain stability for children during custody disputes by preventing one parent from relocating or denying visitation rights to the other parent.
  3. Child Support: These orders ensure that both parents continue to meet their financial obligations to support their children during the legal proceedings.
  4. Spousal Support: Standing orders help ensure that either spouse doesn’t manipulate their financial situation to avoid paying or receiving spousal support.
  5. Property Division: To prevent the dissipation of marital assets, standing orders restrict the sale, transfer, or disposal of significant assets while the case is ongoing.

Key Components of Standing Orders

Typically, standing orders in Texas family law cases cover a range of important areas:

  1. Child Custody and Visitation: Standing orders may specify that neither party can remove the child from the state without written agreement or court approval, preserving the existing custody arrangement.
  2. Communication: Both parties may be directed to maintain respectful and appropriate communication, especially regarding matters concerning the children.
  3. Financial Matters: Standing orders might restrict parties from making unusual expenditures, taking on new debt, or altering beneficiary designations on insurance policies.
  4. Assets and Property: Parties are often barred from selling, transferring, or encumbering marital property during the case without court approval.
  5. Physical and Mental Health: The orders might require parties to maintain health insurance coverage for themselves and their children, and prevent either party from making derogatory statements about the other in front of the children.

Enforcement of Standing Orders

While standing orders are designed to be automatically effective upon the filing of a family law case, enforcing them might require vigilance from both parties. If one party violates these orders, the other party can seek remedies through the court system. This might involve filing a motion for enforcement or contempt, which could result in penalties or sanctions for the non-complying party.


Standing orders play a pivotal role in maintaining fairness, stability, and order in Texas family law cases. By providing temporary guidelines for parties involved in divorce, child custody, and other family law matters, these orders help protect the interests of all parties and ensure that no one party takes unilateral actions that could negatively impact the case or the individuals involved. Understanding and adhering to standing orders is essential for a smoother legal process and the well-being of all parties, especially any children affected by the proceedings.