Temporary Relief Issues In Divorce
In many divorce cases, it often becomes necessary for the Orlando divorce attorneys to file and argue over temporary relief.
Temporary relief basically describes the process of requesting an order of the court that addresses important items in the case such as alimony, child support, attorney’s fees, and visitation on a temporary basis. This is necessary in many cases due to the fact that a contested divorce can last for up to a year or more.
If one of the parties is not getting adequate time with the children, or, is not getting any sort of financial assistance then their lawyer may file a motion for temporary relief.
There are two basic forms that the request for temporary relief can take depending on the jurisdiction that you are in. In some areas of the state, it is common practice to include your request for temporary relief in your petition for divorce. In other areas, there must be a separate motion for temporary relief filed separately from the petition for divorce.
One thing that is very consistent across most jurisdictions in Florida where I have practiced is the fact that temporary relief for items other than time sharing are usually forced to wait until after the mediation occurs. What I mean by this is that the judge will refuse to offer any hearing time for temporary motions until the parties have at least attended mediation which is the court-mandated settlement conference that every divorce case must be scheduled for prior to getting on the Court’s trial docket.
As mentioned above, the one exception to this rule that I have noticed most often in my local area is in cases where one of the parents is refusing to allow the other parent to have time with the kids during their divorce litigation.
In situations such as these, most of my local judges will allow hearing time for a temporary motion before mediation and they will only hear issues related to time with the kids while all other issues such as support, attorney’s fees, etc. are forced to wait until after the parties attend divorce mediation.
I believe that the reason the courts adhere strictly to this policy is that on average at least 50% of divorce cases will settle amicably at or shortly after the mediation takes place. In the judge’s mind, if they force these cases to go to mediation before they can get to court then they will free up lots of space on there already clogged dockets.
It is important for litigants to remember that the results from their temporary relief hearings are, as the name suggests, very temporary. This is because these orders are meant to act as a Band-Aid to stabilize the situation until the parties get to trial where they will obtain a permanent and final order on the issues.
The most common issues that are heard at temporary relief hearings include, but are not limited to visitation, child support, alimony, and attorney’s fees.
A hearing on temporary matters is conducted almost exactly the same way as a full-blown trial would be handled. The divorce lawyers will give opening statements, the parties and their witnesses will be sworn in, the lawyers will conduct direct examinations of their clients and cross-examinations of the opposing party and their witnesses. At these hearings, the evidence is presented to the court in the form of exhibits and in the end, the judge will make a ruling based on the facts and evidence that are presented.
The main difference between a hearing on temporary relief and a full divorce trial is mainly centered around the advance notice required for disclosing witnesses and evidence exhibits that is necessary for a divorce trial and is not as strictly enforced in temporary relief hearings.
A smart divorce attorney understands this and may use this to the benefit of their client strategically.
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.