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Steps Can You Expect to Follow in a Divorce Lawsuit (Step 2: Temporary Orders)

In a Texas divorce case, temporary orders arise when you’ve recently filed for divorce or have been served the divorce papers. Temporary orders tend to be the most litigated part of the entire Texas divorce process for a number of reasons.

  • This step happens right after filing the divorce, when both parties are still reeling from the emotional turmoil of filing the divorce and being served the divorce petition.
  • This means that emotions are at their highest, not to mention there’s a high likelihood of the negotiations falling apart altogether.

In addition, temporary orders tend to be permanent for the duration of the divorce proceedings. So, it’s imperative that your attorney work with you to arrive at the best possible outcome. Attempting to change or nullify these orders will present a major challenge for either party, so you only really have one chance to get it right.

There are only two things that terminate temporary orders:

  1. When there is a final decision in your divorce case (i.e. divorce decree or child custody ruling)
  2. When you have reached the date specified for the orders to end

So, what exactly happens in this step of the divorce process?

What Happens during a Texas Temporary Orders Hearing?

Either party must file a petition or motion for temporary orders, which will result in a temporary orders hearing. In a divorce, this is often the first hearing the spouses will attend in front of a judge. It can even be the last one if both parties agree on the orders and all that’s needed is the judge’s signature.

As for when and how long a temporary orders hearing happens, here’s what you should know.

  • A temporary orders hearing in Texas can begin just four days after filing the divorce or child custody suit.
  • On average, however, hearings occur around two weeks from the date of filing.
  • A hearing can last as quickly as 30 minutes but in rare cases, it can run for as long as 5 days. For the most part, the hearing can be resolved in a day.
Will You Need a Texas Divorce Attorney at this Stage?

Because of the relatively brief period of time between filing the divorce lawsuit and the date of the temporary orders hearing, it’s imperative that you consult a Texas divorce attorney right away. Remember, these hearings can be likened to mini trials, with the same rules of evidence and procedure but with much less time to prepare your case. Toughing it out without an attorney can be disadvantageous, more so if your case involves child custody.

What Gets Decided in a Temporary Orders Hearing?

Examples of urgent disputes that need to be decided by a court in an temporary orders hearing include:

  • Temporary child custody
  • Child and spousal support
  • Possession of the family home
  • Possession of the family car
  • Conservatorship
  • Visitation

These are issues that have to be decided quickly, even if temporarily, long before the final divorce decree. The judge will listen to the testimonies of both parties and, in cases involve children, take the best interests of the children into consideration when making orders.

As mentioned earlier, temporary orders hearings can be contentious, which means you should expect to hear new evidence (often unpleasant) that will be used in the trial. Hiring a divorce attorney as soon as possible will give you as much time as possible to prepare for the hearing and build your case.

If you have more questions about divorce in Texas you would like to ask a qualified divorce attorney about, get in touch with Austin family law attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225, or use our contact form to schedule a consultation about your case.

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