In every New Mexico divorce case, a Temporary Domestic Order is issued by the Court upon the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Temporary Domestic Order provides important protections for the parties and the children, if any, while the divorce is pending.
Basically, the Temporary Domestic Order is recognition that the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage does not end the marital relationship. The Petition simply begins the process toward a lawful dissolution of the marriage.
Because the parties are still married, the parties still have all the rights of marriage. However, because dissolution has been initiated, the obligations of the parties are heightened significantly. These heightened obligations protect each of the parties against dishonest, malicious or other wrongful acts of the other party.
In a sense, the Temporary Domestic Order freezes the status quo. In other words, the parties are prohibited from actions that would significantly affect the rights of the other party. The Temporary Domestic Order covers a lot of ground including issues related to the children, the family home, bank accounts, assets, debt, health insurance, life insurance and the general behavior of the parties towards one another and towards the children.
All terms of the Temporary Domestic Order remain in full force and effect until modified by the Court. In order to modify the terms of the Order, the parties can either agree to the modification and enter a Stipulated Order or one of the parties must file a Motion to Modify the Terms of the Temporary Domestic Order or some other similar motion. The terms of the Temporary Domestic Order are modified only upon the issuance of an Order by the Court either by stipulation or following a hearing.
It is important for the parties to respect and abide by the terms of the Temporary Domestic Order for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this will avoid unnecessary conflict and hopefully move the parties to a fair and timely resolution of the divorce. If this is not enough, violation of the Order can result in a finding of contempt with sanctions, costs and attorney fees.