What are Temporary Orders in a Divorce?

Q.I’m worried what will happen during the pendency of my case. Is there anything that can be put in place until I get a final court ruling?

A. Absolutely. These are called temporary orders. You can file for temporary orders for a number of issues, including, legal decision-making and parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, property, debt, and attorney’s fees.

Q. What do I need to file to get a temporary order?

A. In order to get a temporary order, you must file a verified Motion for Temporary Orders with the court. Before you do that, however, you must also file an underlying petition. If you do not file an underlying petition, the court will dismiss your Motion for Temporary Orders. The Motion can be filed at the same time as the petition, or after, and should incorporate the facts you listed in your petition.

Q. Is there anything else I need to submit with the Motion for Temporary Orders?

A. Yes. You need to make sure within the Motion that you are stating the specific relief you are requesting. Additionally, depending on what time of temporary relief you are requesting, you will need to include further information.

 If you are requesting temporary legal decision-making or parenting time, make sure to include the proposed parenting plan and legal decision-making you are requesting. If you are seeking temporary child support, you should complete a Child Support Worksheet that is filed with the Motion, and prepare all of the required financial disclosures to send to the opposing party and have ready for the court when requested. If you are seeking temporary spousal maintenance or attorney’s fees, be sure to complete, file, and disclose an Affidavit of Financial Information. If there is a temporary order you want in place for property or debts, make sure to state the relief requested in your Motion.

Q. If I already have an order in place and I am requesting a post-decree or judgment modification, can I file a Motion for Temporary Orders?

A Yes. As long as you have filed an underlying petition requesting that modification.

Q. What happens once I file the Motion for Temporary Orders?

A. You will want to make sure that you submit three copies of an Order to Appear along with your Motion when you file it. This form allows the court to set a court date for your temporary orders hearing. If you do not submit one of these, you will likely not have anything happen. Once you receive the Order to Appear back from the judge with a date and time for the hearing, make sure you serve the Order to the opposing party. It should be served at least 10 days before the hearing.

Q. What kind of hearing will be set?

A. It depends. Sometimes the judge will set a pretrial conference, which can include a Resolution Management Conference or Return Hearing. These hearings are short and informal. Usually, there will not be any orders made. It is common that if there are still disagreements at the time of these pretrial conferences, the judge will set a date for an evidentiary hearing. Other judges will set an evidentiary hearing right away and skip the pretrial conference all together.

 Q. After my evidentiary hearing, will I get a temporary order?

A. You may get your temporary order on the day of the hearing or weeks later. It really depends on how many issues there are and the judge’s current workload.

Q. How long are the temporary orders in effect?

A. Any temporary order is in effect until there is another order by the court that replaces that temporary order.