Family Law: Temporary Order After Decree

What happens to a Temporary Order after the entry of a final Decree? The old rule in Washington was the temporary orders were “merged” into the Decree, meaning that unless they were specifically addressed in the Decree, they went away. That made sense for restraining orders and Parenting Plan issues, however it did not make sense for financial issues like child support and spousal maintenance. Under the old rule, if you did not specifically address the outstanding temporary order (child support or maintenance) as a judgment, it was lost, and you could not go after it later.

This rule was overturned by the legislature in RCW 26.09.060(11). This statute specifically states that delinquent support payments accrued under a temporary order for support, remain collectible, and are not extinguished by the entry of the Decree, unless the Decree specifically contains specific language to the contrary. Therefore, if your Decree has been entered, but not all of the payments have been made under the temporary orders, you can still enforce them.

Please feel free to contact one of our experienced family law lawyers to discuss the effect of a temporary order you may have after the entry of the Decree. Call us at 425-255-4542.