What are Temporary Orders in Texas Divorce?
A temporary order filed during a divorce in Texas tells the parties what they may and may not do while the case is pending. If children are involved, temporary orders establish provisions for support and visitation prior to the final trial. If there are issues of property, these orders establish specific types of property and who must pay certain bills until the case is finalized.
Protective orders are different and used in cases of violence, or if parties are fearful of violence.
An award of property or custody on a temporary basis does not mean that property and custody will be awarded in the same manner on a final basis. However, while temporary orders in Texas are not determinative of a final judgment, they often serve as important indicators of the relative strength or weakness of a case. If one parent is granted the right to determine the primary residence of the child on a temporary basis, it is more likely that they will receive primary custody on a final basis.
Why are Temporary Orders necessary?
Contested family law cases often take anywhere from several months to several years from initial filing until final resolution. A temporary order for divorce in Texas is often necessary to help the parties get along during that process.
In custody cases, temporary orders help to create stability and consistency for the children and give the court the opportunity to see how a visitation arrangement will work. If one parent does not comply with court orders, it is often an indication that a different custody arrangement may be necessary on a final basis.
In property cases, temporary orders ensure that all of the bills get paid and both parties have access to community funds. Often, parties are able to negotiate a temporary agreement, but if that is not possible, the issues will be presented to the judge.
What happens during a hearing?
A Texas temporary order hearing takes place before a judge. The judge will hear evidence, usually in the form of testimony of the parties, prior to making a decision. You will likely be called as a witness and asked questions by your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer that are relevant to the decision of filing the order.
Your lawyer may help you present any documentation or proof of the issues in your case to the judge. Other family members, teachers, or doctors may also be called to testify, depending on the circumstances of your case. These hearings often have a time limit, so not every issue in your case will be discussed.
How should I prepare?
Hearings for temporary orders in Texas divorces often occur very early in the process, so it is important to provide your attorney with all the information they may need as soon as possible. At the Ramos Law Group, we ask our clients to complete certain ‘homework’, and the more detailed you can be in preparing your documents, the better the lawyer will be able to represent you in your temporary order case.
If you think medical or school records may be important, tell your lawyer right away, as collecting these types of documents in a format acceptable to the judge takes some time. Discuss the major points of your testimony with your lawyer, and listen to your lawyer’s advice regarding your testimony, as points that may seem important to you, may not be relevant at this hearing.
If you are intending to use a temporary order during your Texas divorce, review all of the pleadings filed on your behalf so you know what you are asking for and be prepared to answer questions about what you want.