When you file for divorce in Dallas County Texas a set of orders come into effect. Neither you or your spouse need to file anything else or request that the orders, they simply exist because your divorce case exists. These orders are called Standing Orders, and they relate to children, pets, property, and the conduct of the parties to the suit.

The Dallas County Standing Orders are in effect automatically for every divorce suit and suit affecting the parent child relationship that is filed in Dallas County. Most of the orders are injunctions, meaning that they tell the parties to the suit what they are not allowed to do while the suit is in progress.

The first two sections deal with the children and pets related to the suit. As you could imagine, it orders that the parties refrain from fleeing with the kids to another state, talking negatively about the other party in front of the children, talking about the case in front of the kids, or harming or threatening to harm to family pet.

Section three further concerns the conduct of the parties. It is more geared towards how the parties need to behave towards one another. For example, it prevents using vulgar or profane language with the other party. It also prohibits threatening or harassing the other party in any way, as well as prohibits parties from harming one another. The above injunctions are important and are usually obeyed without issue by anyone not wanting to tank their case. But there is another important and often overlooked provision, the prohibition of illegally intercepting or recording the electronic communications of the other party. You cannot under any circumstances obtain electronic information by way of hacking, extortion, fraud, or any other illegal means. Even something as simple as logging into the other party’s email and taking information is a surefire way to get both yourself and your attorney in serious trouble.

And finally, section four concerns how you are to treat property during a divorce. Once a divorce is active you cannot go and liquidate all the bank accounts, rack up a large amount of debt, sell your real estate, or damage or destroy your property. This is very important. Don’t do it. It will only backfire on you when the court divides the marital property. This includes what you would consider to be your separate property. A good rule of thumb is to treat everything like its community property until it is agreed or adjudicated that it’s not.

In my experience many do not know about standing orders or that counties other than Dallas have them as well. They are an important part of a case, as they will provide you protections from the Court without request. Next week I will touch on the rest of the provisions in the Dallas standing orders. Provisions such as, insurance, party authorizations, and business records.