Temporary orders can be entered in any family law case to govern what will happen with various different aspects of the case while it is pending.  Temporary orders can relate to both the child(ren) and other financial matters.

Typical temporary orders related to children in either a divorce or custody case include: (1) designation of conservators as either temporary joint managing conservators or temporary sole managing conservator / possessory conservator; (2) the possession schedule be for the child with each of the parents; and (3) whether child support will be paid and, if so, how much.

Examples of additional financial matters to consider for temporary orders in a divorce case are: (1) who will get primary use of the marital residence; (2) how community bills are going to be paid during a pending divorce; (3) whether or not one party will pay temporary spousal maintenance to the other; and (4) who will get primary use of any vehicle(s).

Temporary orders can also govern how the parties treat each other while the case is pending and what is said or done in front of the children.  Temporary orders can either be reached by agreement, or they can be ordered by a court after a hearing.  Temporary orders hearings are like mini trials.  In Collin County, temporary orders hearings are limited to twenty minutes per side, which can really limit what you can do.  In other counties, such as Dallas County and Denton County, you are often given significantly more time for a temporary orders hearing.

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As I mentioned in my post on temporary orders hearings in Collin County, temporary orders are needed fairly often in family law cases.  They address how property, custody and child support issues will be handled while the case is pending.

Temporary orders hearings in Dallas County are quite different from those in Collin County.  If your case is placed on the standard docket, you will be set at either 9:00 or 1:30 along with several other cases.  The judge will go through the docket and establish how long each hearing will take and prioritize the docket based on that information.  If your hearing will take too long, you will be specially set for another day.  If you are “specially set,” then your hearing will be the only hearing set during that time frame.

Dallas County courts do not typically set specific time limits for temporary orders hearings. However, if you tell the judge your hearing will last a certain amount of time, they will often hold you to that.   I have had temporary orders hearings last thirty minutes, and I have had temporary orders hearings last all day.  If I know a hearing will take longer than thirty minutes, I will try to get the hearing specially set right off the bat.  This will save time and money by eliminating the need to show up for a hearing where there will not be time for the judge to decide your issues.

The temporary orders hearing works much like a mini-trial.  The attorneys will usually give a brief opening statement.  Then the Movant (the party who brought the motion for temporary orders) will call witnesses.  The Movant’s attorney will ask direct examination questions and the other party’s attorney will cross examine the witnesses.  After the Movant has called all of its witnesses, the other party will call its witnesses.  When both sides are finished, the attorneys will give a brief closing statement.  The judge will then enter a ruling.  I always present the judge with a Summary of Relief Requested at the start of any temporary orders hearing.  This way the judge will know exactly what relief my client is requesting.

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In family law cases, temporary orders are often necessary.  These are orders that can deal with a variety of issues, including temporary custody, a temporary possession and access schedule, temporary use of property, and interim attorney fees.  The orders only apply while the case is pending or until another order takes their place.  A temporary orders hearing is sort of a mini-trial.

Each county has different rules regarding temporary orders hearings.  In Collin County, you are limited to twenty minutes per side.   This includes the time for direct examination of your own witnesses and cross examination of the other side’s witnesses.  Twenty minutes goes by in a hurry, and it does not give you much time to call multiple witnesses or introduce many exhibits.  Although the judges will occasionally grant additional time, you and your attorney need to be prepared to limit yourselves to twenty minutes.   I normally plan on having only my client and the opposing party testify, but occasionally I will call an additional witness for a handful of questions.

It is really important to have an attorney who is familiar with temporary orders hearings in Collin County who knows how to get the most critical information out in a very short amount of time.  It can be difficult to obtain a different result at a final trial, if the temporary orders hearing goes against you.  Therefore, the temporary orders hearing is very important.

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