Child Support is the legal obligation that every parent must pay when they separate or divorce. When parents are not in agreement in regards to the child support, the court can intervene and assign a temporary order of child support till the case is resolved. A majority of the states have some regulations that guide courts on how to factor in the calculations for child support.

Below are various considerations the court may use to determine the temporary child support orders:

  • The income and assets of each parent;
  • Number of children for whom support must be provided and their ages and;
  • The estimated expenses of caring for each child including the custody arrangement.

Generally, there are some of the guidelines that the courts look at to make the temporary child support orders. However, in some circumstances a judge does have the discretion to deviate from these guidelines. If a parent requests that the court issue a temporary support order, typically both parents will have to verify their income, any assets or debts, and the cost of any expenses, such as health insurance, child care, and housing.

Furthermore, the judge may decide to hold a hearing on the matter. The order will likely mandate which parent will be responsible for paying the other parent child support. The order will also include the amount of the support obligation, how frequently the support must be paid, and the duration of the temporary order. Lastly, the order will define other financial obligations, like health insurance for the child and other miscellaneous expenses that a parent must cover.

What is the Difference Between Temporary Support Orders Versus Final Support Orders?

To ensure that the child is provided for the necessary financial care during an ongoing litigation between the parents, temporary orders exist. Court realizes that there will be a time gap between the initial dispute when the parents divorce or separate and when the final decree decision is made in court. Keep in mind that temporary support orders are enforceable in the same manner as the final support orders. Therefore, if a parent fails to follow a temporary order, he or she can be held in contempt of court and face charges or penalties for refusing to fulfill his or her obligation.

If either parent faces a substantial change in circumstances while the temporary order is in effect, he or she can request that the court reexamine the temporary order and modify it to match their current financial situation. The guidelines used by courts in issuing temporary support orders are typically similar to the guidelines that are used in determining obligations for the final support order. Therefore, parents are legally required to meet the obligations of the temporary support order.

What is the Purpose of Temporary Orders?

When either parent becomes desperate and is in need of financial assistance, they can request from the court for a temporary child support order. The purpose of a temporary support order is to ensure that the necessary needs of any child are met during the process of their parents’ litigation. The parents may request the court to temporarily grant the following:

  • Establish child custody and visiting arrangements;
  • Provide for spousal support and/or child support payments;
  • Order either spouse not to sell valuable asset and;
  • Give possession of the family home or car to one of the spouses.

Temporary orders are usually valid until the court holds another hearing or when the spouses arrive at their own settlement through negotiation or mediation.

When Do I Request a Temporary Order?

Child support issues arise when the couple divorces or separates. In an ideal situation, the couple will come to an agreement about the sharing expenses regarding child support and custody. But, this is usually not the case because the couple are often unable to come to an agreement.

Therefore, the courts need to step in to figure out a solution that considers the best interests of the child as priority. If you and your spouse are able to agree, you can draft up a temporary agreement and go on to try to resolve the rest of the issues in your divorce.

How Do I Request a Temporary Order in the Court?

Most courts now have a self-help filing system for family law cases and provide forms with instructions for the individuals to complete. However, if an issue arises which requires further assistance from a family law attorney, it would be useful to obtain advice from a local family attorney.

Below are a list of some legal documents a court may require:

  • A request for the court order you want – most states have this in a form format that is usually an application for Order to Show Cause and it notifies your ex spouse to be expected at a certain time in court;
  • A supporting declaration – usually a written statement that sets about basic facts that justify the issuance of the temporary order;
  • A proposed temporary order granting you the relief requested -this order must be signed by the family court judge if he or she grants your request and;
  • A proof of service is a document that proves to the court that the papers and forms related to your request have been properly delivered to your spouse for the case.

The next step is to attend a court hearing where the judge will consider your request. In some emergencies, the hearing can be held within a few days, but more often, it will take up to a few weeks. The hearing can be held in a courtroom or in the judge’s office or “chambers” depending on the situation. The judge can listen to a few minutes of testimony from you, your spouse and possibly other witnesses but in some cases the judge may only accept written evidence.

The judge will review any copies of income statements and expense forms to make a decision about the request. States may vary on the different procedures regarding a request for temporary child support, you may need to research local laws for state specific guidelines on how to request the temporary child support order.

In general, the judge can do any of the following:

  • Review the details of the requests and the underlying facts;
  • Ask some questions regarding the case;
  • Ask your spouse, if present, for his or her side of the story, and;
  • In child support cases, refer to state guidelines on recommended support, considering factors such as each spouse’s income and who has primary custody of the kids.

These types of hearings may be less than half an hour. At its conclusion, the judge may likely make an immediate ruling, by either issuing the temporary order you requested or modifying it. The order will stay in effect only until the divorce is finally settled through the legal means. However, if the judge discovers more information is required, or finds that your spouse was not given the proper notice before the hearing, the judge can issue an order that is only effective until another hearing can be held.

When Do I Need to Hire a Child Support Lawyer?

Temporary child support orders are a necessary tool used by the courts to provide financial assistance to the child while the parents are in a legal dispute. It ensures that the child can meet daily needs till the dispute is resolved. If an issue arises and further assistance is needed regarding the case, it is recommended to contact your local child support attorney to address the issue.