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Temporary Order Hearing - What To Expect

Most every person involved in a divorce or family law case is likely to experience a temporary orders hearing during the pendency of their case.  Temporary orders are necessary at times in which certain issues need to be handled while the case is pending and possibly going towards a final trial.

For example, imagine a divorce case in which the parties own a home and have 3 children.  They are needing to separate but cannot agree on what to do about the house and the children.  Who will live in the house while the case is pending?  Where will the children live?  Who will care for the children while the case is pending?  Will there be child support ordered?  These are just a small sample of issue that may need to be resolved at temporary orders hearings.

I have argued on occasion that some requests that a party are making at temporary orders hearing are tantamount to a final disposition of the case.  This is of course, not a good thing and the Court should be informed that these issues should be reserved for final hearing, pending for example a child custody evaluation in a child custody dispute.

Temporary orders hearings are evidentiary hearings.  Meaning that the Court will allow each party to enter evidence through testimony and introduction of physical evidence such as text messages or other documents.  In most Texas counties the Courts will impose a time limit to temporary hearings.  Depending on the Court they can range from 15 minutes per side or more.

Something to keep in mind with respect to temporary orders is that in many cases rulings from the Court on a temporary standpoint often times are carried over to final orders.  Because of this, being well prepared is key.  

Once the temporary hearing has concluded the Judge will render the Court’s orders.  At this point the provisions in the Court’s rulings are binding and enforceable to the parties.  If any of the parties to the case do not follow the orders there can be serious consequences.

In some of the larger counties such as Dallas the temporary orders hearings are presided over by an associate judge rather than the elected District judge.  These courts are generally courts that are not on the record as there is no court reporter assigned to the Courts.  Due to the Court not being a court of record, if either party is dissatisfied with the Court’s ruling he or she can file a request for de novo review.  This will allow the temporary hearing to be essentially redone but in the presence of the District Judge.  Of course this is costly and there are no guarantees that the result of the de novo review will differ from the associate judge’s ruling.  However, because it is a Court of record it can be regarded as another “bite at the apple.”

Another advantage of having temporary orders hearings is that it can be a form of gathering discovery, due to the question and answer exchanges from testimony of the witnessess.  The parties will be exposed to many of the opposing party’s case in chief and may learn what the party intends to make issue of at final trial.  This can be very helpful in making decisions concerning agreements for the disposition of the case without going to trial.

For more information, or to book a consultation session with Mr. Bunger call 214-233-3400