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Can temporary orders make a permanent impact in a divorce?

When courts in Colorado determine child or spousal support, their approach is thorough, involving the consideration of many factors. Yet matters can arise in a divorce proceeding that require more immediate attention, such as temporary support or custody. 

Such requests for temporary relief may involve the filing of a show cause order and a supporting declaration. A hearing is then scheduled, often within a few weeks or less of the filing request. At the hearing, the court’s methods will be less intensive. If a temporary order is issued, it will be less detailed than the relief provided in a final divorce order. In fact, a court may not even rely on any formula or guidelines in awarding temporary support. Rather, it may be influenced by the perceived need of the requesting spouse, the other spouse’s ability to pay the requested amount, and/or the standard of living that the parties had before their divorce. 

Yet might such temporary support have long-lasting implications? An attorney that focuses on divorce might caution that temporary arrangements can create lasting expectations, or at least an advantage.

In the case of a temporary child custody arrangement, a court may be reluctant to uproot a child from the parent and location granted in the temporary order. Stability is often considered one of many factors that are in a child’s best interest. The disruption caused by granting legal custody to a different parent and uprooting the child to a different home and school environment could be seen as too harmful.

All of this underscores the importance of attending a temporary support or custody hearing with a skilled family law attorney. An attorney who focuses on this area will be able to spot such potential implications and help protect his or her client’s interest.

Source:  FindLaw, “Family Court Decisions: Temporary Orders,” copyright 2015, Thomson Reuters


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