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Temporary Relief

Temporary Relief is relief available while the case is pending. The parties can agree on the temporary relief, or the party requesting the assistance can file a motion and schedule a hearing before the judge (or sometimes the general magistrate).

The judge will order temporary child support based on Florida’s child support guidelines, and can enter orders regrading payment of medical and other expenses. Another significant area of temporary relief is temporary spousal support, when one spouse needs assistance in supporting themselves while the case is pending. The judge can also order one spouse to pay all or a portion of the other spouses attorneys’ fees and costs, including costs of the experts, etc., if one party has a need for the payment, and the other has superior financial resources.

The court can enter temporary orders regarding time-sharing and parental responsibility – to set a visitation schedule, for example for the parents to follow, or to protect the children if the judge determines that one parent poses a risk to the children. The judge can order evaluations or supervised visitation, with the bests interests of the children being the standard under Florida law. The judge can appoint a “guardian ad litem” to evaluate the situation and report back to the judge, if the judge believes that is warranted, and one or both parties can request the judge to appoint a guardian ad litem.

An important point to remember about these types of issues, and other temporary relief issues as well, is that a party needs to file a Motion with the court to request the relief, and schedule a hearing if the parties can’t come to an agreement. The legal system in the U.S., puts the responsibility on the parties to file the papers with the court to move the case forward and seek the relief they want, versus a procedure directed more by the court (although there are stages along the way when the judge will schedule a “status conference” or “case management conference” to check on the status of the case).

A final area of temporary relief, is relief directed at property or debt issues – e.g. an order preventing a party from wasting or “depleting” marital assets; directing who gets exclusive use of the home; an order directing who has to pay certain debts while the case is pending. There can be other orders also providing for an “interim distribution” of certain assets, for example, the marital home to one party via quitclaim deed, to allow them to pursue a mortgage modification on their own, if the lender will allow it.

As for other family law issues, in my opinion, many of these property issues can be addressed more efficiently and with less conflict through the Collaborative Divorce process.


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