temporary orders

What Are Temporary Orders in Divorce Proceedings?

During the divorce process, which in California must last at least six months and one day from the date of serving the initial documents, temporary orders can play a critical role in securing an judgment before the divorce process concludes. Despite being termed “temporary,” these orders do not automatically expire but last until new orders override them or a final judgment is reached.

Temporary orders can address various aspects including but not limited to:

  • Child custody and visitation rights;
  • Child support payments;
  • Spousal support allocations;
  • Exclusive use of marital property; and
  • Coverage of attorney fees.

These orders can be established either through mutual agreement between the parties or by a court decision. The enforceability of such orders under the law brings several advantages, notably reducing conflicts and providing clearer guidelines during the divorce proceedings.

When Should Temporary Orders Be Filed?

Filing for temporary orders doesn’t have a universal best timing; it largely depends on individual circumstances. While some might delay filing due to fears of court confrontations or financial burdens, proactive filing is crucial. Delaying could worsen financial straits or other personal situations. It’s important to assess your needs early in the process and prepare accordingly, as court schedules may not align perfectly with personal emergencies.

How Do I File for Temporary Orders?

To initiate temporary orders, you’ll need to file a motion that sets a court hearing. This process starts with a Request for Order (FL-300) form, where you can detail your needs including child custody, spousal support, and more. This form allows you to address a broad spectrum of issues by checking appropriate boxes that correlate with your needs.

When filing, it might also be necessary to include supplementary forms, like an Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150), especially when financial orders are sought. Filling out these forms with accuracy and thoroughness is key, ensuring the judge receives a clear picture of your situation.

In addition to the form, a detailed declaration must accompany your motion, explaining why you’re requesting certain orders. This narrative should be concise yet comprehensive, providing a snapshot of your circumstances to the judge.

For More information check out our article on Requesting and Order

What Are the Next Steps After Filing for Temporary Orders?

Once the motion is filed, the court assigns a hearing date. It’s crucial to keep track of this date and ensure no scheduling conflicts. After filing, the court clerk will provide copies of the filed documents; one copy is for your records, while the other must be served to the opposing party.

Is Mediation mandatory for child custody and visitation orders?

If you’re considering filing for custody or visitation orders in California, you’ll need to engage with the state’s Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC), commonly referred to as mediation. Each county has unique procedures for this process, making it crucial to familiarize yourself with local practices.

During CCRC sessions, parents collaborate with a mental health professional, such as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), to resolve custody disputes in a neutral setting. This process aims to foster agreement between parents, providing them the first chance to decide on their children’s care collectively, unless there are issues like domestic violence that necessitate separate sessions.

California offers two types of CCRC: “recommending” and “non-recommending.” In recommending counties, the counselor’s evaluations can significantly influence the judge’s custody and visitation decisions, as they provide written recommendations after the sessions.

The duration of these mediation sessions varies by county. Some may last as briefly as 15 minutes, while others could extend over several hours. The timing often depends on whether mediation occurs on the same day as the hearing or at a separate preliminary appointment.

How Do I Serve a Request for Temporary Orders?

Proper service of your filed request is essential. If the spouse has not yet responded in the case, personal service is required. However, if they have already filed a response, you may serve the documents by mail. Legal deadlines dictate that service must occur at least 16 court days before the hearing, with additional time allowed for mail service.

If you’re on the receiving end of a request for orders, understanding how to respond is crucial in order to ensure you can protect your interests and respond adequately to any filings by your spouse.

How Do I Respond to a Request for Temporary Orders?

When faced with a Request for Temporary Orders, your initial action is to file a Responsive Declaration to Request for Orders (Form FL-320) before your scheduled court date. This form covers a variety of issues typically discussed in court such as child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, attorney fees, and an “other” category for additional issues. You should directly respond to the issues listed in the Request for Orders. 

For instance, if child custody and visitation are requested by your spouse, clearly state your agreement or objection, and specify the orders you believe are appropriate. Remember, the Responsive Declaration is not meant for requesting orders not mentioned in the initial Request for Orders.

When Should I File My Responsive Declaration?

The deadline to file your Responsive Declaration is generally 9 court days before your hearing, unless otherwise stated in the Request for Order. It’s crucial to adhere to this timeline, as failing to do so could prevent the judge from fully considering your response, potentially giving your spouse an undue advantage. Also, ensure that you serve a copy of your Responsive Declaration to your spouse or their attorney to avoid delays and potential admonishment from the judge.

What Happens at the Hearing?

During the hearing, the judge will evaluate the issues outlined in the Request for Order based on the documentation provided and the arguments made by both parties. Be prepared to offer additional information as requested by the judge. After the hearing, the judge’s decisions are formalized through a Findings and Order After Hearing form. It is essential that these orders are accurately recorded and submitted to the court as they provide definitive resolutions on the matters at hand. Non-compliance with these orders can lead to serious penalties, including fines or imprisonment.

What Happens If I’m Not Ready for the Hearing?

If you are not ready for the hearing for a valid reason, you may request to postpone it. This is often called a continuance. You can ask the opposing party to agree to this postponement, which can save both time and money. However, there might be a $20 fee to reschedule your hearing. If the other party does not agree, you should explain your circumstances to the judge to request a new date.

Common reasons for a continuance include receiving the motion too late, being close to an agreement with your spouse, needing to hire a lawyer, missing pre-hearing mediation, or having unavoidable obligations like jury duty or a medical emergency.

What Happens If There Is an Emergency?

In true emergencies, you may file an Ex Parte Request for Orders. Judges consider emergencies on a case-by-case basis, commonly acknowledging situations like domestic violence, parental kidnapping, immediate harm to children, or significant property loss as emergencies. 

Ex Parte requests demand meticulous attention to procedural details and typically require professional legal assistance due to the complex nature of the requirements and the urgent time frame involved. If you need assistance with an Ex Parte Request For Orders, contact a Divorce Attorney near you for assistance. 

Understanding the steps involved in responding to a request for temporary orders can be a bit daunting. However, it is crucial information in order to handle family law proceedings effectively. 

In the following section, we will explore the requirements and implications of disclosing your financial information during divorce proceedings, a process that plays a pivotal role in determining financial responsibilities and rights.

Contact Our Divorce Attorney Today

If you need a divorce attorney in Orange County, Los Angeles, or Ventura County, contact us today. We are here to offer you knowledgeable, compassionate, and assertive legal assistance in all aspects of family law.


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