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Temporary Relief While a Divorce Is Pending


Divorces take at least a few months to complete, and this timeline assumes the parties are pretty much in agreement about all the issues. If conflict exists, the amount of time needed to finish the process could be considerably longer. However, most couples want to start untangling their collective lives as soon as the decision to divorce is made. This principally involves separating finances, determining short- and long- term living arrangements, and sharing parenting time and other responsibilities. While a couple will want this process to occur quickly, so each can start to move on with his/her respective lives, the reality is these things take time, and require some amount of planning to ensure a spouse has sufficient resources and support to maintain a household while a divorce is pending. Spouses with little knowledge and/or control over family finances are at a disadvantage in this situation, and may feel trapped until the divorce is complete. However, Florida law allows parties to a divorce to request temporary relief, so their options to respond to this situation are not limited or untenable. A discussion of the types of temporary relief a spouse can request, and the two procedures used to obtain them, will follow below.

Types of Temporary Relief

Temporary relief gives a spouse the immediate ability to obtain legal remedies in the early stages of a divorce. Situations in which temporary relief may be necessary include:

  • marriages involving domestic violence or other forms of abuse;
  • a spouse wanting primary responsibility over the child; or
  • one spouse making significantly less than the other, and worrying about meeting expenses without the other spouse’s income.

As the name suggests, temporary relief is time sensitive, and will terminate if the circumstances of either party changes, or when the final divorce settlement is entered. Further, these orders may also be modified if justified by the facts of the case. The following are the types of temporary relief commonly available in divorce:

  • spousal support (alimony) – based upon the needs and ability of each party to pay;
  • child support – based upon the incomes and parenting time exercised by both parties;
  • time-sharing schedule – courts will look at the best interests of the child, but getting an enforceable schedule in place could cut down on conflict, and provide a forum to introduce safety concerns to the court over the other parent’s fitness;
  • exclusive use and possession of the home – unless a court says otherwise, both parties have full rights to the home during the divorce, so blocking access of the other party will need court approval;
  • temporary use of an asset – if an asset is only in one spouse’s name (car or financial account, for example), the court’s permission is necessary for the other spouse to access it; and
  • attorney’s fees – authorized if one party is economically disadvantaged, and cannot afford the same level of legal representation as the higher-earning spouse. Courts assess the income, assets, and liabilities of both parties to decide this issue.

Procedures to Get Them

Temporary relief may be requested in two manners: ex parte (emergency) and regular relief. Ex Parte emergency requests are appropriate when a true emergency exists, and not a mere inconvenience. These motions are heard on an expedited basis and without participation of the other party. Thus, courts will only grant them if someone is in danger, such as improper removal of a child from the State or threats of physical harm. Most motions for temporary relief are heard through the regular process, and require scheduling a hearing in advance, though parties are typically required to try mediation first. However, some judges will allow a party to have a hearing prior to mediation if he/she can show a delay would result in harm.

Contact an Orlando Divorce Lawyer

Divorce triggers many important and far-reaching changes within a short period time. If you have concerns over weathering the time between the start and conclusion of a divorce, speak with the knowledgeable attorneys at the Donna Hung Law Group in Orlando. Our team understands your pressing concerns, and can guide you through the divorce process in an efficient and effective manner. Contact us at (407) 999-0099 for a consultation.