In cases involving divorce, paternity suits or other cases involving the parent-child relationship a party may ask his or her attorney to seek a temporary order. The purpose of a temporary order is to obtain a court order for the protection of the child and for protection of marital property during the pendency of a case. A case may not go to a final hearing for months and the there is a need to address the following matters that require immediate attention:
- Child support and temporary alimony (in Texas this is called maintenance).
- Access to or possession of a child.
- Temporary conservatorship of a child.
- Health insurance needs of a party or of a child.
- Continued occupancy of a community home.
- Use of community property such as a vehicle.
- Payment of debts in order to protect marital assets such as the mortgage or car payment.
- Protecting a party or a child from abusive or threatening behavior by another party.
- Removal of child from a geographical area designated by the court.
A party may think that there is a serious risk to a child and that party may seek an order to be “executed” prior to any hearing even being held before the court. However, except on a verified pleading or an affidavit in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, an order may not be rendered:
(1) attaching the body of the child;
(2) taking the child into the possession of the court or of a person designated by the court; or
(3) excluding a parent from possession of or access to a child.
In setting visitation orders and child support the court will often use what are called rebuttable presumptions found in the Texas Family Code.
Temporary orders are not subject to what is called an interlocutory appeal pending the final hearing in the case so there is a need for special care in drafting these orders. This is where you will need the assistance of an experienced divorce or family attorney.
Under certain circumstances there may be a need to modify the temporary orders.
Violations of these orders may be punishable by contempt.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that there is little need for temporary orders. Whenever children are involved there will be a need for an order to protect the children from harm and from removal by a party outside of a desired geographic area. And, oftentimes a party may not be predisposed to support his or her children without a court order.
People get desperate in divorce cases and may start emptying bank accounts or may run up debts on a community credit card. Courts are needed to prohibit this behavior.
In the thousands of family cases we have handled we have always presumed that a temporary order is critical and should always be considered as a necessary step to protect our clients. If you are looking at a family case then call us about your rights. Call us at 915-593-6600 and at 915-256-0579. We are standing by, ready to help.