When a divorce is contested—meaning that the spouses can’t agree or haven’t yet agreed on all issues—the first hearing in the case will usually be regarding a motion for temporary relief. While not every divorce case will have this type of hearing, they are not uncommon and are many people’s first experience with their family court judge.
Motions for temporary relief can cover a wide variety of issues. As their name suggests, whatever a judge orders in these hearings is a temporary, short-term solution until the parties can agree on a long-term plan in their divorce settlement. However, the orders can be incorporated into the divorce decree if they are beneficial to both parties.
Usually, initial hearings on temporary relief order cover issues like child support, parenting time, or spousal support. These types of orders will make sure that everyone in the family is able to support themselves during the divorce, even if the breadwinning spouse moves out of the home. In addition, if one spouse is unable to hire an attorney, a temporary order may require that the wealthier spouse cover the attorney’s fees. Temporary orders can also be used to decide where children should stay or which spouse should use the family home while the divorce is pending.
In addition to the types of orders above, where one spouse is ordered to do something, the judge can also grant temporary restraining orders, which may prevent a spouse from destroying or concealing assets. For example, the judge may issue a temporary restraining order forbidding one spouse (or both spouses) from taking any money out of joint bank accounts or investment accounts. These orders will help make sure that the marital property is accurately and fairly divided.
In general, temporary orders are used to prevent unnecessary interruptions in the family’s life. The family court judge will usually work to maintain the family’s status quo, at least while the divorce is pending. This is especially true when the couple has children, who may be emotionally or psychologically harmed when they go through too many disruptions or major changes in their life all at once. Instead, the judge and the attorneys for the couple will attempt to come up with a plan that will help the parents maintain their current situation while deciding on permanent plans for life after the divorce is finalized.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we understand that ending a marriage is never easy, especially if you are worried that you may not be able to support yourself during a divorce. If this is the case, our knowledgeable Washington family law attorneys can work with you and your former spouse to create temporary orders and permanent divorce settlements which will help you and your family move forward.
If you would like more information about your rights and obligations during a divorce, call us today at 509-572-3700.