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What is a Standing Order?

In Georgia, when a domestic relations action (divorce or family law case) is filed, a “standing order” will be issued by the superior court in which it is filed. In a divorce proceeding, a standing order usually addresses several issues important to the case and safety of the individuals involved.

A standing order issued during a divorce proceeding will generally prohibit either of the parents from removing the children from the jurisdiction, harassing/stalking one another, selling or otherwise disposing of/moving marital property, etc. The standing order also prohibits either party from employing another person on their behalf that would violate the standing order.

The order applies to the plaintiff when the action is filed, but does not apply to the defendant until he or she is served with the complaint and standing order. Standing orders can vary from county to county.

If either you or the other party were to file a standing order, you could be found in contempt of court. That being said, exceptions to the standing order may be made after court approval, so if you are not sure that you will be able to obey all of the standing order rules for a valid legal reason, you should file for an exemption.

The full text of O.C.G.A. 19-1-1 providing for the issuance of standing orders is below.

O.C.G.A. 19-1-1. Issuance of certain standing orders in domestic relations 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.

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