The Locke Law Group

Bexar County Standing Orders What You Need to Know Before Divorce


May 8, 2020

What Are Bexar County Standing Orders or What Orders Go Into Effect Once I File for Divorce?

               The Bexar County Standing Orders are Special Orders that apply to both parties once a divorce is filed.  These Standing Orders automatically go into place at the time a divorce action is filed.  The Standing Orders also include provisions for children, for the child custody part of a divorce.  A copy of the Standing Orders is attached to the Divorce Petition and it is included with the divorce papers once the other party is served.  If you are getting a San Antonio divorce you need to be aware that you must follow the Bexar County Standing Orders until there is a final decree of divorce, or until specific temporary orders are put in place that both parties must follow during the time period before your divorce.

Why Does Bexar County have Standing Orders?

               The most recent Bexar County Standing Orders were signed were approved by the Texas Supreme, by all Bexar County Civil District Judges, and went into effect on August 27, 2018. This means that judges unanimously support the rules that the parties must follow until their divorce and/or child custody case is final, or until some other orders establish different rules that the parties must follow.  The Standing Orders are enforceable by contempt, which means that a judge could make you pay money to the other party if you knowingly break the rules, or worse, even throw you in jail.  Eighty percent (80%) of court cases in Bexar County are divorce-related issues, and custody-related issues.  Understanding the Standing Orders is important to your case to ensure that you are not out of bounds even before you get to a hearing.  The overarching purpose of the Standing Orders is to ensure that the parties treat each other fairly until it’s their time to appear in court.

What Exactly Do Standing Orders Accomplish?

          

               First, if there are children involved in the divorce, the Standing Orders make sure that the parties maintain the status quo for the children as much as possible.  This means that parents cannot make any changes that would majorly disrupt the children’s regular routine, such as move them from Bexar County, Texas, or hide them the prior consent of the other party AND of the Court.  Among other things, you cannot speak badly about the other parent directly to or within the hearing of the other parent.  You CANNOT talk to your kids about any of the court proceedings regarding your case.  If you have kids and you want a divorce, the standard the judge must use in order to determine who will get the kids is by a best interest standard.  In any child custody case, the Judge’s main concern is the children involved in the case.  Bexar County civil judges make every effort to make rulings that they believe are best for the children.  Breaking the rules laid out in the Standing Order will not be looked upon favorably as the proceedings unfold.

Second, you must be respectful of the other party and provide that person with common courtesy, regardless of whether you believe that person deserves courtesy.  Do not use vulgar or obscene language when talking to the other party during your divorce.  Do not make the other party feel threatened in any way, such as excessive telephone calls, nasty messages, and opening the other party’s mail.

Third, you must preserve all property accumulated during the marriage, unless the parties agree in writing, or until the Court authorizes you to take action. Do not sell anything without talking to your lawyer first.  You are not allowed to create more debt by opening a new credit card. Do not destroy any property, even if you think it has no value.  This also includes moving or shifting assets, such as bank account balances, signing the other party’s name to a check that

requires dual signatures, falsifying documents, and selling property just before your divorce.  If the other party accuses you of breaking the rules regarding the preservation of marital property, and a judge believes you have done so, you may be responsible for additional payments to the other party or to a third party.

Finally, you must maintain and retain all personal and business records in your name, alone or together with the other party, or in someone else’s name for safe keeeping.  You should disclose the records to your attorney who should then determine which documents, if any, must be turned over to the other party’s attorney.

Are There Times When Standing Orders Do Not Apply?

               Standing Orders cannot be used to change or circumvent a prior custody order.  Standing Orders do not change the primary residence of the child; they do not change conservatorship; and they do not change the primary residence of the child.  If you believe you cannot follow Bexar County Standing Orders, you need to talk to your attorney before you file for divorce and let your attorney know why you cannot follow the orders. It is possible to alert the court to your specific circumstances and get protective orders put in place to allow you to protect yourself and your children from a spouse that might harm you. The Standing Orders are starting point because they are the first orders in your case, but they are only a starting point because other orders may follow behind them. Our attorneys have filed hundreds of divorces and know how to counsel you to make sure that you put yourself in the best position as you go through the divorce process.

When you are thinking about getting a Bexar County divorce it is important to consult with a San Antonio divorce attorney who knows the Bexar County standing orders and how to advise you regarding those standing orders before you file for divorce. If you are thinking about getting divorced give us a call today!

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I believe that good lawyers are good problem solvers. When someone hires me to represent them I consider it a sacred trust. I take my job seriously because I know how much is on the line.