What is the Standing Order?
In Georgia, when a domestic relations action is filed (divorce or family law case), the Superior Court where the original action is filed, issues a “Standing Order.” The standing order directs the parties to refrain from harassing, molesting, or otherwise interfering with one other and restrain transfers of assets except for ordinary and necessary living and business purposes. The standing order applies to all domestic civil relations in most Georgia Superior Courts. However, the exact terms of a Standing Order can vary by county to county, and also how strictly they are enforced.
In Georgia, O.C.G.A. 19-1-1 outlines the basic requirements for Standing Orders in Georgia domestic family law and divorce cases:
(a) As used in this Code section, the term “domestic relations action” shall include any action for divorce, alimony, equitable division of assets and liabilities, child custody, child support, legitimation, annulment, determination of paternity, termination of parental rights in connection with an adoption proceeding filed in a superior court, any contempt proceeding relating to enforcement of a decree or order, a petition in respect to modification of a decree or order, an action on a foreign judgment based on alimony or child support, and adoption. The term “domestic relations action” shall also include any direct or collateral attack on a judgment or order entered in any such action.
(b) Upon the filing of any domestic relations action, the court may issue a standing order in such action which:
(1) Upon notice, binds the parties in such action, their agents, servants, and employees, and all other persons acting in concert with such parties;
(2) Enjoins and restrains the parties from unilaterally causing or permitting the minor child or children of the parties to be removed from the jurisdiction of the court without the permission of the court, except in an emergency which has been created by the other party to the action;
(3) Enjoins and restrains each party from doing or attempting to do or threatening to do any act which injures, maltreats, vilifies, molests, or harasses or which may, upon judicial determination, constitute threats, harassment, or stalking the adverse party or the child or children of the parties or any act which constitutes a violation of other civil or criminal laws of this state; and
(4) Enjoins and restrains each party from selling, encumbering, trading, contracting to sell, or otherwise disposing of or removing from the jurisdiction of the court, without the permission of the court, any of the property belonging to the parties except in the ordinary course of business or except in an emergency which has been created by the other party to the action.
(c) Upon written motion of a party, the standing order provided for in this Code section shall be reviewed by the court at any rule nisi hearing.
What if minor children are involved?
When the minor child(ren) are involved, parties are enjoined and restrained from permitting minor child(ren) removal from Georgia. The only exception shall be for vacations outside the state of Georgia not exceeding fourteen (14) days. Furthermore, customary activities/events fall under the exception. These activities/events range anywhere from boarding school to camp related events. During that fourteen (14) day period, the child(ren) shall not be removed from the United States. In any event, if the minor is from the state of Georgia, advanced written notice should be provided accordingly, outlining the details of the events, travel destination, and contact number(s) where the minor will be staying shall be provided. See O.C.G.A. 19-9-1(b)(1) for additional information.
When dealing with minor children, Courts expect the litigants in domestic relations actions to recognize and prioritize the child’s safety, financial security and mental well-being. Looking out for the best interest of children is the most important aspect in domestic relations cases. Except for rare circumstances, both parties are required to equally share the responsibility while participating together to make important decisions concerning child’s well-being.
What happens if I violate the Standing Order?
Violation of the Standing Order may result in party being found in contempt, which is punishable by sanctions, fines, and imprisonment. It will be in the party’s best interest to consult an attorney before taking any action violating the order. However, exceptions may apply to this rule if approved by the Court.
If you are facing divorce or a family law situation, call us at 770-609-1247 to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.