La Porte Family Lawyer discusses the use of temporary orders
A temporary order is generally unique to family law. After we have filed
a lawsuit for
divorce or for
modification of prior order that deals with a child, many times we want to get into
the court house immediately to have the judge put some rules into place
about how the parties can act toward one another and the child. A temporary
order is often times referred to as a band aid order because it is only
meant to maintain the financial status quo, set rules for
custody of the child(ren), and give the parties enough time to either settle their
dispute or to gather the information needed to try their law suit.
However, if temporary orders are contested over the
custody of the children it is very important to prevail in the hearing, as a high
percentage of the time what happens in a temporary orders hearing is very
similar to what the outcome will be on a final trial or settlement.
Many of various local counties (like Harris county) have standing orders
for the temporary orders hearings which put special requirements into
place. For these reasons it is important to hire a lawyer that is well
versed in practicing before your judges.
Listed below are some of the issues we deal with in a temporary orders hearing.
In a child custody case the court will be asked to make a temporary decision
regarding where the child(ren) will live, how often and when they will
visit the other parent, and how much child support will be paid.
As discussed previously, if the custody issue is
contested, it is important to prevail at the temporary orders hearing. Often times
it can be difficult to fully convey to the court at the temporary hearing
why it is in the best interest of the child(ren) to be placed with you
due to the quick nature of the hearing.
Often times I am asked about whether it matter if you file first for you
divorce. In a custody case I always say it is important to file first because
you set the time table to prepare for the temporary orders hearing, and
you get to present your case first.
Here are a few other issues that might be decided at the temporary hearing:
An award of temporary conservatorship, and a schedule for both parents
to have custody/
visitation of the child(ren).
- The appointment of an Amicus Attorney to represent the child(ren) during
the court proceedings.
- The order of a home study by a social worker to see what types of home
environments each parent can provide, along with criminal back ground checks.
An order of
temporary child support which will be based on the earnings at the time of the hearing, or of
an average earning amount if the earnings fluctuate from check to check.
- If one of the parties mental health is in issue or if there is an allegation
that the parties are affecting the mental health of the child, then the
appointment of mental health expert( for example a psychologist) to complete
a custody evaluation for the court.
- If one party has greater resources than the other, then the court can order
the higher earning spouse to pay he attorney's fees of the lower earning
spouse to ensure both parties have a fair chance to prevail in the courthouse.
Parent Education Course
The courts may order the parents to complete a Parent Stabilization/ Education
Course. Often times the courts make this a mandatory requirement, and
there are some courts that will not let you finish a case if both parties
have not completed the course. The courses run from 4 to 12 hours in length,
and each court has lists it keeps of courses it will accept for this requirement.
The course is designed to teach parents how to transition themselves and
their child(ren) through the difficult process of divorce.
At the temporary orders hearing the courts are also tasked with making
sure the "bills are paid" while the case is pending. Courts
will do this one of two ways. Some courts will order a specific amount
of money, in addition to child support, to be paid from one spouse to
the other. Other courts will take a look at the family bills and debt
obligations and will order certain debts paid by one spouse for the benefit
of the other spouse. In both circumstances the courts will order both
parties to submit sworn financial statements showing what their financial
ability and needs are at the time of the hearing.
Temporary Restraining Orders
An ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO) is an order issued without
notice to the opposing party. An ex parte TRO is good for 14 days from
the date the court orders it, and can be extended for another 14 days.
Ex parte TRO's are used to halt all action that may change custody
of the child or waste marital assets during the period between when the
case is filed and the 2 or 3 weeks it takes to get to court for the hearing.
TRO's can cover many subjects like the ones listed below:
1. Communicating with Petitioner in person, by telephone, or in writing
in vulgar, profane, obscene, or indecent language or in a coarse or offensive manner.
2. Threatening Petitioner in person, by telephone, or in writing to take
unlawful action against any person.
3. Placing one or more telephone calls, anonymously, at any unreasonable
hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate
purpose of communication.
4. Causing bodily injury to Petitioner or to a child of either party.
5. Threatening Petitioner or a child of either party with imminent bodily injury.
6. Destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise
harming or reducing the value of the property of one or both of the parties.
7. Falsifying any writing or record relating to the property of either party.
8. Misrepresenting or refusing to disclose to Petitioner or to the Court,
on proper request, the existence, amount, or location of any property
of one or both of the parties.
9. Damaging or destroying the tangible property of one or both of the parties,
including any document that represents or embodies anything of value.
10. Tampering with the tangible property of one or both of the parties,
including any document that represents or embodies anything of value,
and causing pecuniary loss to Petitioner.
11. Selling, transferring, assigning, mortgaging, encumbering, or in any
other manner alienating any of the property of Petitioner or Respondent,
whether personalty or realty, and whether separate or community, except
as specifically authorized by this order.
12. Incurring any indebtedness, other than legal expenses in connection
with this suit, except as specifically authorized by this order.
13. Making withdrawals from any checking or savings account in any financial
institution for any purpose, except as specifically authorized by this order.
14. Spending any sum of cash in Respondent's possession or subject
to Respondent's control for any purpose, except as specifically authorized
by this order.
15. Withdrawing or borrowing in any manner for any purpose from any retirement,
profit-sharing, pension, death, or other employee benefit plan or employee
savings plan or from any individual retirement account or Keogh account,
except as specifically authorized by this order.
16. Entering any safe-deposit box in the name of or subject to the control
of Petitioner or Respondent, whether individually or jointly with others.
17. Withdrawing or borrowing in any manner all or any part of the cash
surrender value of life insurance policies on the life of Petitioner or
Respondent, except as specifically authorized by this order.
18. Changing or in any manner altering the beneficiary designation on any
life insurance on the life of Petitioner or Respondent or the parties' child.
19. Canceling, altering, failing to renew or pay premiums, or in any manner
affecting the present level of coverage of any life, casualty, automobile,
or health insurance policies insuring the parties' property or persons,
including the parties' child.
20. Opening or diverting mail addressed to Petitioner.
21. Signing or endorsing Petitioner's name on any negotiable instrument,
check, or draft, such as tax refunds, insurance payments, and dividends,
or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instrument payable to Petitioner
without the personal signature of Petitioner.
22. Taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge cards in the
name of Petitioner.
23. Discontinuing or reducing the withholding for federal income taxes
on Respondent's wages or salary while this case is pending.
24. Destroying, disposing of, or altering any financial records of the
parties, including but not limited to records from financial institutions
(including canceled checks and deposit slips), all records of credit purchases
or cash advances, tax returns, and financial statements.
25. Destroying, disposing of, or altering any e-mail or other electronic
data relevant to the subject matters of this case, whether stored on a
hard drive or on a diskette or other electronic storage device.
26. Terminating or in any manner affecting the service of water, electricity,
gas, telephone, cable television, or other contractual services, such
as security, pest control, landscaping, or yard maintenance, or in any
manner attempting to withdraw any deposits for service in connection with
27. Excluding Petitioner from the use and enjoyment of the.
28. Entering, operating, or exercising control over the vehicle in the
possession of Petitioner.
29. Disturbing the peace of the child or of another party.
30. Withdrawing the child from enrollment in the school or day-care facility
where the child is presently enrolled.
31. Hiding or secreting the child from Petitioner.
32. Making disparaging remarks regarding Petitioner or Petitioner's
family in the presence or within the hearing of the child.
33. Becoming intoxicated or allowing any other person to become or be intoxicated
in the presence of the children. Intoxicated is defined as under the influence
of alcohol or any other substance to the degree that a person may endanger
herself, himself or another.
35. Permitting an unrelated adult with whom Respondent has an intimate
or dating relationship to remain in the same residence with the child
between the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 8:00 A.M.
If you have question about filing for temporary orders, please
contact me on the form located on my home page.
La Porte Divorce Attorney today
Here at the
Dennis M. Slate, Attorney at Law, we offer a full range of family law and legal services including
child custody and
grandparent visitation and
custody, etc. We have
3 Houston area locations including Deer Park, Houston, and Porter, Texas. Call our offices today
and we can set an appointment with an attorney: (281) 407-9254.