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What Are Temporary Orders?

What Are Temporary Orders?

La Porte Family Lawyer discusses the use of temporary orders

Temporary Orders

A temporary order is generally unique to family law. After we have filed a lawsuit for divorce or modification of prior order that deals with a child, we often want to get into the courthouse immediately to have the judge put some rules into place about how the parties can act toward one another child. A temporary order is often 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 lawsuit.

However, suppose temporary orders are contested over the custody of the children. In that case, it is essential to prevail in the hearing. A high percentage of the time, what happens in a temporary orders hearing is very similar to the outcome of a final trial or settlement.

Many local counties (like Harris county) have standing orders for the temporary orders hearings, which put special requirements into place. For these reasons, it is essential 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 order hearing.

Custody and Child Support

In a child custody case, the court will be asked to make a quick decision regarding where the child(ren) will live, how often and when they will visit the other parent, and how many children will be paid.

As discussed previously, if the custody issue is contested, it is essential to prevail at the temporary orders hearing. However, frequently, 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 transient nature of the hearing.

Often, I am asked whether it matters if you file first for your divorce. In a custody case, I always say it is important to file first because you set the timetable 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 background checks.
  • An order of temporary child support 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 an allegation that the parties are affecting the child's mental health, then the appointment of a mental health expert( for example, a psychologist) to complete a custody evaluation for the court.
  • If one party has more significant resources than the other, then the court can order the higher-earning spouse to pay the 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, the courts make this a mandatory requirement, and some courts 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 listed 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 complicated process of divorce.

Spousal Support

At the temporary orders hearing, the courts are also tasked with ensuring the "bills are paid" while the case is pending. Courts will do this one of two ways. First, 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 other spouse's benefit. In both circumstances, the courts will order both parties to submit sworn financial statements showing their financial ability and needs 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 suitable for 14 days from the court orders and can be extended for another 14 days. Ex parte TROs are used to halt all activities 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. TROs 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 coarsely or offensively.

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 an unreasonable hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication.

4. Causing bodily injury to Petitioner or 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 property value of one or both parties.

7. Falsifying any writing or record relating to the property of either party.

8. Misrepresenting or refusing to disclose to Petitioner or the Court, on proper request, the existence, amount, or location of any property of one or both parties.

9. Damaging or destroying the tangible property of one or both parties, including any document that represents or embodies anything of value.

10. Tampering with the tangible property of one or both 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 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 a diskette or another 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 those services.

27. Excluding Petitioner from the use and enjoyment of the.

28. Entering, operating, or exercising control over the vehicle in possession of the Petitioner.

29. Disturbing the peace of the child or 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 child's hearing.

33. Becoming intoxicated or allowing any other person to become or be intoxicated in the presence of the children. Intoxicated is defined as being 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 questions about filing for temporary orders, don't hesitate to contact me on the form located on my home page.


Hire a La Porte Divorce Attorney today

Here at Slate & Associates, Attorneys at Law, we offer a full range of family law and legal services, including divorce, paternity, adoption, child custody, and visitation issues, child support, spousal support, juvenile, domestic violence, property division 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.


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Please note, the attorneys at Slate & Associates, Attorneys at Law, are only licensed to practice in the state of Texas, and cannot assist with out-of-state cases.