If you and your spouse do not agree, if your spouse has hired an attorney who does this routinely, or if we meet with you and determine that your specific case facts warrant it, a Temporary Orders Hearing will be scheduled in Court. If you have been "served with papers," you probably have a Court hearing set. We will explain how Texas judges deal with issues regarding basic needs while the case is pending such as: who lives where; who pays what bills; who drives which car; and how much spousal support is paid, etc.
The purpose of Temporary Orders Hearings is to preserve the status quo while a divorce is pending, ie. between the date the divorce is filed and the date the divorce is finalized and the property settlement goes into effect. Once two parties decide to separate, important "property" and "child" issues need to be immediately resolved.
Sometimes a party hesitates to file for a divorce because they do not know how they will financially survive! Other times, they are forced to face this crisis because they were "served with divorce papers" by their spouse!
The party may work full or part time, but they may not have a job or, even if they are working, they may not earn enough to pay the monthly bills! This situation can be difficult for the "working" party as well, particularly if the parties were having financial problems while they were both contributing to the same household!
Each party and the children need to have their food and shelter needs met while the case is pending.
Also, child support and visitation issues need at least a temporary resolution while all of the facts and information for the finalization of the divorce are being gathered.
At a Temporary Orders Hearing, the Court makes a decision regarding the following "kid issues":
It is important for your kids to know that they are NOT responsible for your divorce! Kids learn alot about life during a divorce:
Kids will use you and your spouse as role models and, later in life, whenever they face any problems with their own relationships, they will act just like they saw both of you do.
You may each be required to take a parenting class. This is not really about parenting as much as it is about the effects of divorce on kids. We will provide a variety of acceptable classes so you can choose one with the most convenient date, time and location. You can also complete this class online.
Our firm does the best to make you aware of the parenting, job, social and financial "pitfalls" which are a part of the "divorce experience!"
Regarding the parties' property, each side prepares a Financial Information Sheet which is a summary of his or her monthly income and expenses prepared in a standard Court required format.
Each party also provides information about the income and expenses of his or her spouse. This Financial Information Sheet, along with required supporting documents, helps the Court decide the following issues regarding "use of property" until the divorce is final:
Hint: This is not a final property division. However, if a particular item is very important to you, it is a good idea to ask to have use of it at the temporary orders hearing.
What is "Interim Spousal Support?"
This is the support one party gives to the other while the divorce is pending. It can take two forms: cash payment vs. direct payment for certain bills. For example, the party with the larger income may be asked to pay a certain number of dollars in interim spousal support directly to the other spouse.
Alternatively, he or she may be ordered to specifically pay the cost of the mortgage and/or certain minimum monthly payments such as car payments, car insurance or various credit card bills. Frequently, some combination of both will be the case!
There are many different possibilities for how this can be done. Please note that this support is distinct from "child support," which will also be ordered.
It should be obvious that if a Temporary Orders Hearing has been scheduled, each party should obtain the assistance of an attorney to advocate for their needs before the Court!
How long will the "Interim Spousal Support", if ordered, be paid?
That depends a lot on the individual circumstances of the parties. The Court could order it "until further order of the Court" which usually means until the divorce is final. The Judge could order it for one to several months. This often happens when the receiving party is not working. The fact that the temporary support will end on a certain date encourages the receiving party to gain employment as soon as possible.
What if the wife earns more money than the husband?
The Court does not base its decisions on gender. A wife who has a larger earning capacity may be ordered to pay interim spousal support to her husband.
What if my spouse and I agree about these issues – Do we still have to have a court hearing?
Parties who are doing an "uncontested divorce" can make these decisions for themselves.
If they do not "agree, chances are good that one of them will file a Request for Temporary Orders Hearing with the Court. In this case, the partes and their attorneys will often attempt to come to an agreement without the need for an actual hearing. If the attorneys have not yet reached an agreement, when the parties and attorneys arrive at the courthouse for the hearing, their attorneys will meet in person and continue to discuss the terms of a possible agreement.
If the parties, through their attorneys, are not able to agree, then the Judge will hear each side’s testimony and make a decision regarding all property issues and "kid issues" if there are children.
What if my husband and I both want our kids to live with us?
The Court needs a lot of information before it can make such an important decision for its final orders.
However, the Court will establish at the Temporary Orders Hearing with whom the children should live while the divorce case is pending.
Both parties will be asked to take a parenting class which discusses the effects of divorce on children. Conservatorship battles can be extremely costly – both financially and emotionally. An agreement between the parties is encouraged whenever possible.
As discussed above, there is a good chance that the Court will appoint an amicus attorney to help the Court make the custody decision.
Many Courts require that the parties attend mediation before the Temporary Orders Hearing if custody is in dispute.
Will child support be deducted from my check after the Temporary Orders Hearing?
Sometimes a Wage Withholding Order is entered after the hearing. However, it may not be entered until the divorce is final. On certain occasions, such as when the payor is self-employed, a Wage Withholding Order may be put into the Court’s file but not activated until a later date.
Regardless, child support will be ordered to be paid, usually effective immediately.