When a divorce case is filed, the court issues a series of what are known in most jurisdictions as temporary orders. These temporary orders cover a variety of issues from child support to child custody as well as covering an array of other matters. Five key facts are important to understand about a temporary child custody order in a divorce case:
- Motion for temporary custody
- Best interests of a child and temporary custody
- Temporary custody becoming permanent custody
- Temporary parenting time or visitation
- Legal Representation and temporary orders
Motion for Temporary Custody
The first step in the temporary custody process is the presentation of a motion for temporary custody with the court. Both spouses have the ability to present a motion for temporary custody with the court. Through these motions, each party is able to spell out his or her position regarding the temporary custody of a child or children for the duration of divorce proceedings.
In the alternative, one party might file a motion seeking temporary custody and the other spouse might elect to file a response to that pleading. In the response, a spouse can also contend that they should be granted primary custody of a child or children during the course of divorce proceedings.
State statutes and court rules establish specific procedures to be used concerning divorce temporary orders. Statutes and rules also create a specific timeline within which action needs to be taken in regard to temporary orders in divorce cases.
A court can hold a hearing on temporary divorce orders. A court may forgo a hearing in some situations in which the parties reach an agreement regarding the temporary orders in a divorce case. Even when parties agree with temporary divorce orders, a court will examine that agreement to ensure that it complies with state statutes and court rules. This includes a temporary child custody order in divorce proceedings in all jurisdictions across the United States.
Best Interests of a Child and Temporary Custody
When a court considers temporary custody during divorce proceedings, a judge applies what is known as the best interests of a child standard. All decisions relating to child custody and parenting time or visitation are made with an eye to what is in the best interests of a child or children that are part of divorce proceedings.
There is not a one-size-fits-all template that is used whenever temporary custody is at issue. The best interests of a child standard requires a case-by-case consideration of the unique facts and circumstances of a specific case.
Temporary Custody Becoming Permanent Custody
A temporary custody order is only in full force and effect during a divorce case. Once a divorce decree is handed down in a marriage dissolution case, all of the temporary orders in a case cease to be in operation. That includes a temporary custody order.
With that noted, the reality is that oftentimes the terms and conditions included in a temporary custody order become a part of the final order of the court. For this reason, if a parent is intent on a certain type of ongoing custody arrangement, that individual needs to be assertive in making a strong case for what should be included in a temporary custody order.
Temporary Parenting Time or Visitation
A temporary order not only addresses custody itself but also parenting time or visitation. As part of a temporary custody order, a divorce court also addresses the matter of temporary parenting time or visitation. As is the case with custody itself, the parenting time or visitation parameters established in a temporary order oftentimes becomes a part of the final orders that are issued as part of the divorce decree in a marriage dissolution case.
Legal Representation and Temporary Orders
A person heading towards divorce or in the midst of a marriage dissolution case who has a child or children needs to give very serious consideration to retaining the professional services of a skilled, experienced divorce lawyer. As a matter of common practice, a divorce attorney will schedule what is known as an initial consultation with a prospective client at no cost.
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