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What are Temporary Relief Hearings and How do They Work?

Every time you or your spouse files a motion seeking some sort of decision from the divorce or dependency Judge, a hearing is held before the Judge. Usually, every hearing is attended by the parties, their attorneys and any witnesses that will testify at the hearing for you or your spouse. The first hearing you will probably encounter is a temporary hearing to establish your temporary rights to certain property, alimony, timesharing of your children, child support, and other matters.  The hearings are of short duration with limited testimony and evidence being presented.

The Judge’s focus at temporary hearings is to work out at a short term solution to disputed issues that seems reasonably fair to both parties in the mind of the Judge. The Judge’s temporary decision, whether in your favor or against you on an issue, is not necessarily an indication of how the Judge will rule on a disputed issue in the Final Judgment. Also, the decisions made by the Judge at temporary hearings can usually be revisited by the Judge at a later point in the divorce process when there is more time to present evidence.

Divorce judges have very crowded calendars, making it difficult to schedule temporary hearings as quickly as you would like. It is mandatory to attend mediation before scheduling a temporary hearing.  Also, it is not uncommon to run out of time at a temporary hearing before the Judge has heard from both parties on the disputed issue, requiring the scheduling of another hearing on the same issue. These types of delays can be very frustrating to you if your expectations are too high from the start. Understand from the beginning that a litigated divorce is often a lengthy process requiring multiple temporary hearings on various issues. In many cases, the passage of time can be positive for you if you use the time to work toward the most positive adjustment possible for yourself and other affected family members.

If you or someone you know needs help in a divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney.