Temporary Orders Hearing is a Critical Event – Here’s what you Bring with you!

By Dugan P. Kelley

For most clients, they dread the uncertainty and stress associated with a contested trial.  In Family Courts in Denton, Dallas, Collin, Tarrant or any Texas county, they likely will not see a trial.  Most cases (including Family cases) settle.  However, many Family cases will go to temporary orders.

Temporary Orders Hearings in Denton, Dallas, Collin, or Tarrant Counties:

A temporary orders hearing allows the Family Court to make “temporary decisions” in usually a compressed time frame on many of the issues that you will ultimately settle or go to trial to resolve.

Texas Family Code §105.001 provides:

(a)  In a suit, the court may make a temporary order, including the modification of a prior temporary order, for the safety and welfare of the child, including an order:

(1)  for the temporary conservatorship of the child;

(2)  for the temporary support of the child;

(3)  restraining a party from disturbing the peace of the child or another party;

(4)  prohibiting a person from removing the child beyond a geographical area identified by the court; or

(5)  for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses.

Temporary Orders hearings are critical, as the Court is empowered to really address all the major issues in your Family Case.  As a result, being prepared is also vital.  Here are the top 5 things that you should bring to every temporary orders hearing.

Top 5 Things to Bring to Every Temporary Orders Hearing:

  1. Pictures! You have probably heard the Chinese proverb say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is so true at a Temporary Orders hearing.  This proverb refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single picture.  Pictures, videos, or other visual aids are vital to show demonstrate multiple things to the Court.  If you want to show the Court your relationship with your child (family events, birthday parties, hanging with your kids, smiles etc.…), certain items of property, or even raise issues of security or violence (bruises, weapons, or other problems) can easily be described with a clear picture.  So, be prepared to share with your attorney any pictures, videos, or other visual aids that can be taken to the Temporary Orders hearing.
  1. A calendar showing the date(s) and time(s) you have exercised your visitation with your child(ren).  At almost every Temporary Orders hearing involving child(ren) visitation schedules will be decided by the Court.  The Court will want to know what you have been doing in the past (as one factor) in order to assess what is likely in the child(ren)’s best interests going forward for a visitation schedule.  Remember, Family Courts like routine and consistency.  So, if you are able to demonstrate with a calendar how your requests for visitation are the routine that the children know and expect, this is a good thing.  A well-developed calendar is a must for every temporary orders hearing.
  1. Budget and financial information. Many Temporary Orders hearings decide issues of temporary spousal maintenance (e.g. alimony) and child support.  Child support is often decided using a statutory formula.  However, in order to be properly prepared and seek the proper child support, you will need financial information (e.g. W2s, paystubs, or 1099s).  Additionally, you will want to prepare a budget if you are asking for spousal maintenance that shows the Court what you will need on a monthly basis to meet your minimum monthly needs.
  1. Records supporting your request for attorney fees. Many Temporary Orders hearings address whether the Court will order interim attorney fees.  If you are the spouse that doesn’t have access to the bank account or credit cards, you will likely be asking the Family Court to order interim attorney fees be ordered.  If you know that you are going to be in this situation, it is vital to ask the Court for attorney fees and be prepared to show the Court the engagement agreement or bills showing what attorney fees have been incurred to date.
  1. Summary of relief. Your summary of relief is a written summary of all the things you want the Court to order.  This is essential.  Remember, the Court has limited time.  It is not uncommon for Family Courts to issue actual orders on many issues with only limited information on hand.  Your summary of relief is usually a one page or two-page summary with bullet points telling the Court exactly what you want on all the major issues to be decided at the Temporary Orders hearing.

Preparation and Bringing These Items to Your Temporary Orders Hearing Will Lower Your Stress:

Any hearing can be stressful.  Preparation is key to removing that stress and uncertainty.  If you prepare or assist your attorney in preparing the items above, your stress will be lowered significantly.  Kelley Clarke PC can help if you are in need or are concerned about an upcoming hearing.