Many long months often pass between the time you start the divorce process and the time the final order is issued, either by the Family Court judge or by agreement of the parties. During that time, you may be expected to maintain the household, pay your bills, take care of the children and more. That’s not easy when you and your spouse can’t agree on the method of payment, who will pay, or whether you can co-parent.
Temporary orders may help. A hearing for temporary relief is usually held within two weeks to a month from the time you start your case. This allows the court to set some parameters in place that can be used to guide the behavior of all the parties involved until the divorce is final. In short, the court puts a band aid on the contested issues in your case.
What issues can be addressed in a temporary order?
Typically, the court will try to address the most important concerns. We work with you to counsel you and your priorities as you head into this process. The court may issue temporary orders regarding:
- Who remains in the marital home and what access the other party may have;
- Who retains possession of important items: automobiles, boats, and computers, for example;
- The amount of child support and spousal support;
- The specifics of a parenting plan, or in other words, how custody and visitation of the children should be handled.
Temporary orders may also address things like health insurance, medical expenses, restraining orders, freezing large bank accounts, and attorney’s fees and costs. The court at the temporary hearing may appoint a guardian ad litem in a custody case, order drug testing and psychological workups, or order a forensic examination of computers and other digital devices. In short, there is no issue that is off limits at the very first hearing in your case.
Why is representation needed during a temporary relief hearing?
Temporary orders have immediate implications on the overall nature of the case; our job is to evaluate the order and determine how to best use the order as we proceed to a final hearing, or preserve your rights for a final hearing in the event the temporary order does not accomplish your priorities. We do our very best to ensure that you have a good outcome at a temporary hearing; sometimes, this means negotiating a settlement for a short-term plan while we work towards a long-term resolution.
Temporary hearings usually last 30 minutes; they are accomplished by sworn affidavits. Many times, our family court will have 6 temporary hearings in one morning. An experienced advocate can advise you about realistic outcomes at the temporary hearings and which arguments will be effective.
The decisions you make today have the potential to impact your family’s future. We encourage you to hire an attorney to represent you in any step of your divorce. Our law firm and experienced advocates offer you invaluable perspective and guidance. Emily G. Johnston has over 35 years of experience appearing in the family court. Tori Rhea has been practicing for 5 years and is a zealous advocate, particularly in matters involving custody. Let us help you.