The third question that people should be asking when facing a divorce is, “how quickly can I expect to get a hearing?”
Frequently when a divorce is being filed, there are a number of immediate concerns that need to be addressed. This is particularly true in situations where children are involved. When those things arise, there are always questions of is one party going to need to pay spousal support or child support, who has custody of the kids under what circumstances, who’s going to have visitation and all those of sorts of things, who’s going to get to stay where, and who needs to move someplace else.
For all these questions, the courts have set up something called the temporary hearing. At a temporary hearing, the sole purpose is to simply maintain the status quo until such time as the court has an opportunity to hear the case on all of its merits and in other words, to have a full blown trial.
Usually, you can request a temporary hearing at the time that it’s being filed but the court is almost never going to agree to set that before at least 30 plus days have elapsed and the reason is very simple, the case has to be served on the other party. It’s a lawsuit and like all lawsuits when somebody is being sued, they are entitled to be notified of the case and the court is going to make sure before it sets any hearings that adequate time is given to make sure that your spouse has been made aware of the fact that the case is pending and knows about hearing and has time to prepare for it. So that’s usually the fastest you’re going to get and there is one exception to that and that is in situations where there’s a bona fide emergency that the court must handle immediately.
Frequently, situations like that involve situations that really truly cannot wait at all and often times involve harm to one of the parties or to the party’s children. Now it’s important to remember that if you’re asking the court for an emergency hearing, what a court considers to be an emergency is very, very different from what you and I think are emergencies. Frequently, a court is only going to grant a request for an emergency hearing under the most dire of circumstances.
So for this reason, you shouldn’t assume that you’re going to be able to get one of these emergency hearings. More often than not, it’s usually going to be 30-40 days before you’re going to be able to have your first hearing which is why it’s important to make sure that you plan appropriately for handling that period of time that’s going to elapse from filing until that first hearing. And that’s the questions number three on our series of the questions that people should be asking when they’re facing divorce.