Date: XX XXXX XXXX
Regarding: Explanation of Temporary Orders
This is a form letter explaining the Temporary Order process. Since this is a form letter, it is a general explanation of the process and not specific to your case. If you would like greater explanation regarding Temporary Orders in your case, please, feel free to call us and ask any questions you may have. We will be happy to speak with you.
Temporary Orders are just that: temporary orders made by the court to govern the parties until a case is finalized. Temporary Orders can address any issue in a divorce or child custody case, including: (1) child custody, (2) child support, (3) alimony, (4) parent-time, (5) payment of debts, (6) and possession of the marital home. Once the Court hands down Temporary Orders, it does not usually modify them. Because of this, Temporary Orders are important, and we prepare for them accordingly.
Usually, a party begins the Temporary Orders process by filing a Motion for Temporary Orders. This Motion is accompanied by a Sworn Declaration (i.e., Affidavit). This Sworn Declaration, which is based on a person’s direct observation, and explains (1) the situation, and (2) why a party deserves what he or she is requesting in the Motion for Temporary Orders. The other party has an opportunity to respond and file a Counter-Motion for Temporary Orders. If a Response is filed, the other party has a final chance to Reply before the Court holds a hearing. All parties also have the opportunity to provide the Court with documentary evidence, such as bank statements, parent-time calendars, and photographs.
From the time a Motion for Temporary Orders is filed, it usually takes between four to six weeks schedule a hearing with the Court.
The hearing in Court will be held before a Commissioner. A Commissioner is not quite a judge, but acts as a judge in family law cases. Usually, in a hearing regarding Temporary Orders, live testimony will not be taken. Instead, the attorneys will proffer evidence, which means the attorneys will stand up and argue. Really, the only time you would talk during a Temporary Orders hearing is if the Commissioner asks you a specific question. The Commissioner will have read all pleadings before the hearing.
Sometimes, the Court may require witnesses to attend Temporary Orders hearings. If so, we would need to subpoena those witnesses at least fourteen days before the hearing. There is a fee for subpoenaing witnesses that is paid directly to the witness.
When all parties have made their arguments, the Commissioner will make Recommendations and ask an attorney to write down those Recommendations and provide them to the Court. Upon receiving the Recommendations, they will be forwarded to the Judge, who will sign them.
If you believe the Commissioner made a mistake and made legally incorrect Recommendations, we can file an Objection with the Judge and ask that the Recommendations be overturned. Any Objection must be filed within fourteen days of the Commissioner’s Recommendations. If you wish to object, please let us know as soon as possible since it takes time to draft an objection to a Commissioner’s Recommendations.
Quite often, the Court uses Temporary Orders to formalize what has already been happening in a case (i.e., the status quo). For example, if the parties have been sharing parent-time 50/50, the Court will usually formalize that 50/50 parent-time arrangement in Temporary Orders. That noted, many times the Court will change the status quo based on the circumstances of the case.
Alimony can also be addressed in Temporary Orders. Temporary alimony is based on the need of the party requesting alimony, and the ability of the other party to pay. Being ordered to pay temporary alimony does not necessarily mean alimony will continue after the divorce is finalized. Remember, these orders are temporary in nature. Likewise, child support can be addressed in Temporary Orders. In order to address alimony or child support, a Financial Declaration will need to be filed with the Court. If you have not already completed a Financial Declaration, please do that as soon as possible. Our goal is to have Financial Declarations filed at the beginning of the litigation process. If Financial Declarations are not filed in a timely manner, it may cause a delay in your case or preclude you from asking for child support and/or alimony.
Hopefully, this letter has helped explain the Temporary Orders process. Again, if you have any questions regarding your case, please call 801-685-9999.
/s/ Marco Brown