What is it and how do you prepare for it?
In a Divorce or Custody case, a Temporary Orders hearing is where the court addresses issues that cannot wait for full resolution of the case, such as parenting time, child support, payment of marital expenses such as a mortgage, and maintenance of health and other insurance.
If you anticipate needing the court to issue temporary orders, it is important for us to file a motion as soon as possible in order to get a date scheduled. There is often a delay of weeks before the court will have a date available. We can always take the motion off the court’s calendar if the situation resolves without the need for a hearing. Often the fact that a motion is scheduled motivates the other party to work with you to resolve the issue.
It is also important for us to include every single thing that you would like the court to address in the motion, as we must serve the other side with the motion ahead of the hearing in order for them to prepare an answer and/or oppose the motion. If an issue is not in the motion with notice to the other side, the judge will likely refuse to address it. As a family lawyer, I keep lists of potential issues that may come up at some point over the course of your case. By including issues that affect your life on a daily basis such as child custody and payment of marital expenses, as well as issues that may come up prior to settlement such as vacation and holiday time and who claims which child for taxes, we can avoid the need to prepare for and spend unnecessary time in court.
Leading up to the Temporary Orders hearing, we have the opportunity to reach agreement on all of the issues in the motions. With effective negotiation, often by the date of the hearing we may be able to enter a full stipulation instead of presenting arguments to the judge. You also have the ability to enter into agreements that the court would not likely to order until after trial or at all.
If there are issues remaining on the day of the hearing, our first stop will likely be at “probation”, otherwise known as court mediation. The mediator who hears your case will encourage stipulation, and write recommendations for the judge as to resolution of the remaining issues. (Meaning: this is an important meeting. Even if it seems unassuming, with a small table in a conference room, the judge will hear what goes on.) Then we will head into the courtroom to wait for the case to be called.
When your case is called, the judge will likely ask the attorney who filed the first motion to speak first, and then the judge will hear a response by the opposing attorney. The judge may ask you or your spouse questions directly. We will prepare for this well before the hearing.
Ultimately, the judge will try to keep the family’s finances and parenting plan as close as possible to what was in place prior to litigation and/or leading up to the hearing.