When a married couple decides to separate, often before the filing of divorce but sometimes during, it is more than just the spouses that are being separated. If there are children in the family, they will always be separated from at least one of the parents, at any given point in time. Family courts issue temporary orders on issues that are time-sensitive and require some sort of decision at least for an interim period. Because the orders are made in a rather expedited manner, they simply act as placeholders, and the court meetings in which they are made are very quick and informal. 

Unlike in other family court dates where you, or your attorney, have time to make your case, temporary order hearings are expedited, so you have to make your requests to the court concise, simply stating what it is you are asking from the court. It could be custody of a child, or the sale/possession of the marital home. 

It is important to remember that, just as it says in the name, these orders are temporary, and that even if you receive a temporary order of spousal support, or health insurance, or even the possession of some family asset (family car, for example), these are not definite, biding orders. They are put in place to resolve the issue as to “who gets what?” for the time being. 

The court will take a further look into these topics later in the proceedings, and make a final decision regarding the issues of spousal support, child support, and the division of assets. This protects one spouse from being completely cut-off from their daily life and normal lifestyle, as has often been the case. One spouse might financially disconnect from their dependent partner during the divorce, and that partner cannot be left homeless and penniless during the divorce, simply because everything was put in the other spouse’s name. The courts have recognized the potential for this to happen, and therefore have the discretion to make temporary orders granting custody or support, protecting unemployed and dependent spouses. 

Speak to an attorney about filing temporary order papers in court, as you may have to wait until the divorce papers have been filed, while others allow it upon separation.