What Happens at a Temporary Orders Hearing?

When couples divorce, there are several immediate, pressing issues that need to be resolved. For example, who will move out of the house? When can the divorcing spouses spend time with their children? Who decides in case of health care emergencies? Is one of the spouses entitled to child support? Is one of the spouses entitled to payments from the other spouse, also known as spousal support? When emotions fly high as they often do early on when a family breaks apart, there is often a need for an objective, neutral judge to decide all fundamental issues that result from the dissolution of the household. Typically, such decision-making takes place at the so-called Temporary Orders Hearing.

The Temporary Orders Hearing can be requested by either spouse. It will be scheduled when one party, through its attorney, files a motion asking the court to have a hearing with the view that doing so will resolve certain basic disputes between the spouses. Once a temporary order has been requested, a hearing date will be set by the Court. In emergencies, the hearing could be set within a few days, or even within hours. However, most hearings are scheduled for a date within a few weeks of filing. The hearing itself is usually more informal than a trial; nonetheless, it is still in front of a judge and all parties and witnesses testifying do so under oath.

The judge will usually hear husband and wife speak to present their case. Although each case is different, generally, testimony and evidence will center around the following five topics:
  • Child support. If children are involved, child support is decided according to a formula set forth in the Texas Family Code. Ordering child support will ensure that the children’s well being will not be jeopardized by the fact that their parents are divorcing. Generally, the non-custodial parent will contribute around 20% of his or her net monthly resources to the financial well being of the child. If both parents have custody and similar financial resources, child support may be split between both parents.

  • Access. Often known as “visitation” or “possession,” access refers to when and how each parent is scheduled to see his or her child. This can be based on many different factors, including, but not limited to, the work schedule of the parent, any history of family violence, and the age of the child. A very important consideration in the determination of visitation rights is the age of the child. Although this may vary from case to case, children under the age of 2 years at the time of the Temporary Orders Hearing tend to be awarded more time with their mother.

  • Temporary Spousal Support is awarded if the requesting spouse has fewer financial resources than the other spouse. A classic example is the long time stay-at-home mother that raised the children while the children’s father generated the family income. The Court will usually look at respective incomes of each parent as well as the overall financial situation of each party.

In more complicated and contested divorces, it is often at the Temporary Orders’ hearing that the judge will order additional obligations that the court considers helpful to make final orders later in the case. For example, if one spouse raises concerns about the other spouse’s drug and alcohol addiction or family violence, it can be expected that the court will order the parties to attend parenting facilitation classes, counseling, or psychological evaluations.

Although determined very early in the divorce process, temporary orders usually lay the groundwork for the final divorce decree. Accordingly, the Temporary Orders Hearing should be prepared for and taken quite seriously. Temporary orders usually need the presentation of very strong additional evidence to be altered before the finalization of the divorce decree, so careful preparation for the Temporary Orders Hearing will save parents time and possible heartache later on in the divorce proceedings.

© 2015 Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC | All Rights Reserved.
Pursuant to TDRPC 7.04(b)(1); Click to view Responsible Attorney. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Contact