Most Temporary Relief Hearings are extremely short. In Palm Beach County, where the majority of my practice is located, each case is provided with only one, thirty minute hearing before the Judge decides what she will do on a temporary basis from the date of the hearing through the trial and Final Judgment in a case. Temporary Relief Hearings can be held in dissolution of marriage (divorce) cases, paternity cases, and other types of matters such as parental relocation cases.
Practice makes perfect.
Before your Temporary Relief Hearing you should have at least one, possibly more, meetings where you can prepare for the actual hearing. Because these hearings are so brief, you need to ensure that you are prepared to provide the necessary information in the most concise manner so that the Court and Judge can get a clear understanding of what the issue is, what needs to be decided, and what is the evidence and testimony upon which to make a decision. If you are not prepared, your side will be at a disadvantage if your opposing counsel and party are prepared and ready to go in the time that is allotted to him or her.
Accurate Financial Affidavits are AWESOME!
Again, because of the brief nature of the Temporary Relief Hearing, your Financial Affidavit is going to be a major source of information for the Court to base its decision on. You want to make sure your Affidavit is as accurate as possible and that you can document or footnote any items that need same. For example, if you estimated a figure, then you can footnote that it is an estimate. If you use a figure for your vacations, but have not been able to go on vacation since the divorce was filed and your access to funds has been limited, footnote that as well.
If you are running at a deficit every month, footnote how you are meeting this deficit. Such as, you are borrowing funds from a family member, you are putting items on a credit card, or you are not able to pay for all of the line items listed so you are not able to afford to live as you did during the "intact" marriage.
Also, you will want to assist your attorney in evaluating the other side's financial affidavit.
When you go to Court for your Temporary Relief Hearing, you want to dress conservatively and not wear flashy jewelry, watches, make-up, or clothes. You want to remain calm and listen to your attorney and the Judge. You do not want to appear argumentative when the other side has an opportunity to cross examine you. Additionally, you want to answer any questions asked of you as clearly, honestly, and concisely as possible.
Remember, the Judge will be evaluating your truthfulness and credibility!
What's the Order?
At the end of a Temporary Relief Hearing the Judge may make her ruling from the bench. If she does, then you will know at the end of your hearing what the result is. If not, then the Judge will provide both sides to submit proposed Orders and she will make a determination and send out the written Order. Sometimes, this is done very quickly within few days to a few weeks. Other times, you may have to wait several months to get an Order back from the Court.
You and the other side will be required to follow this Order until you obtain a Final Judgment in your case. Occasionally, things will happen while the case is still going on and you may need to ask the Court to change the Temporary Order. You will want to bring to your attorneys' attention any serious issues that would warrant a change in the Temporary Order.
Finally, at your Final Hearing, the Court has the opportunity to correct or change anything that was entered on a Temporary basis.
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