What is a Temporary Hearing in Family Court?

The Family Court offers parties the opportunity to come before the Court in an effort to establish temporary terms to be put in place while litigation is pending. At a temporary hearing, for example, a Family Court Judge receives temporary hearing packets from both parties, reviews those packets, hears from each party’s attorney regarding her/his client’s position on the matter, and then makes a ruling, on a temporary basis, as to what terms the parties will abide by until the final hearing of the matter. (Keep in mind that there are reasons for the Temporary Order to be changed prior to the final hearing of the Family Court case, but usually the Temporary Order remains in effect until the final hearing.)

Typically, a temporary hearing is requested at the outset of the case – at the time the pleadings are filed with the court. The temporary hearing is scheduled by the Family Court Clerk of Court’s Office within four weeks of the filing date.

Requesting a temporary hearing is a helpful tool for parties to have some terms put in place that will help guide the parties and the action while the action is continuing through the normal process of discovery, settlement conferences, mediation, and, eventually, trial. In other words, the temporary hearing helps prevent the “Wild West” to reign in a typical family law situation: the parties have terms to abide by and, as I have found, the act of setting terms offers a peace of mind to both parties to continue with the rest of the process and prepare for a final outcome.

What is addressed at a temporary hearing?

A number of issues can be addressed by a Family Court Judge at a Temporary Hearing. Some of the issues that can be addressed at a Temporary Hearing, on a temporary basis, include:

  • possession of the marital residence,
  • payment of the marital residence’s mortgage and expenses,
  • possession of vehicles,
  • payment of vehicle expenses and insurance,
  • alimony,
  • child custody and visitation arrangements,
  • child support,
  • payment of health insurance and uncovered health care expenses

 

What are temporary hearing packets?

Parties present issues to the Family Court Judge at a temporary hearing and are able to “speak” to the Court through their temporary hearing packets. The packets must include a financial declaration, a background form, and a proposed parenting plan. The packets may also include affidavits, which are sworn statements prepared by the party and other individuals who are able to offer relevant information regarding the issues before the Court. The affidavits must be signed by the individual and notarized. Additionally, the temporary hearing packets can include exhibits that serve to supplement the affidavit information.

At the commencement of the hearing, the Judge will review the packets, and both parties, just before the temporary hearing, will receive the opposing party’s packet for review and have the opportunity to make objections to any content being presented before the Court.

A tremendous amount of preparation goes into the making of a temporary hearing packet, and the party and her/his attorney and support staff have the job of obtaining and compiling a large amount of information in a relatively short period of time (a maximum of four weeks from the date of filing, and often much less for the non-moving party).

The Family Law Team at Hyde Law Firm, P.A. is available to help with temporary hearings in family law cases and other related matters. Please contact us today to discuss your family law needs.