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What is a Temporary Hearing in a Divorce or Custody Case?

During a contested superior court civil case several months can pass between the initiation of the civil action and the case resolution. Matters dealing with divorce, child custody, child support and spousal support (alimony) fall into this category. It is often the case that certain issues arise that need to be settled by the court prior to a final hearing on a divorce or custody case. Two of the most common issues that may need to be quickly resolved by the Court while a civil action is pending are matters related to temporary child support and or temporary alimony. Throughout the course of the civil litigation the Court will receive a significant amount of discovery in the form of financial affidavits depicting each spouse’s or parent’s assets, income and liabilities, banking statements, W2’s and other documents in an effort to determine the proper amount of support that should be given to either the child or the spouse. However, there are certain instances when a party is temporarily placed in a worse financial position as a result of the initiation of the civil action.

The typical scenario where there needs to be a timely support determination usually involves a spouse moving out of the marital residence. This can be particularly difficult if the household is more dependent on the party leaving. In this instance the remaining spouse could be left in an impossible position where they have to support the home and children with one income. In this instance the remaining party can petition the court to hold a hearing to determine if any temporary support is needed. This request can be for the benefit of the spouse, child or both. Additionally, a determination of temporary support is only meant to resolve issues related to the need for financial support until the final order is issued. At that point the court will have an opportunity to fully access the long term needs of the parties. Under O.C.G.A §19-6-3 the court is required to consider the “peculiar necessities created for each party by the pending litigation and any evidence of a separate estate owned by either party”.

During a temporary hearing the court can decide matters such as:

  • (1) how much financial support a spouse or a child should receive while the matter is pending,
  • (2) the time that the child spends with either parent,
  • (3) the residence that the child will live in,
  • (4) who resides in the marital home and
  • (5) whether there is a need for restraining orders.

Although the court will need to go through the litigation process to obtain most of the information needed to adjudicate the divorce and or custody matter, when temporary financial support is necessary or the physical safety of a party is in jeopardy, the court will intervene with the intent of maintaining order while the case is pending. Attorneys at the Faucette Law Firm, LLC have experience representing clients in all aspects of divorce and family law such as contested and uncontested divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, modifications, legitimations and adoptions. Contact our firm today for a consultation.