What is a Temporary Relief Hearing?

Often it can take several months to complete the divorce process.  If there are disputes about custody and parenting time, disputes about the value of assets, or disputes about how much alimony or spousal maintenance should be paid, it can take several months to resolve these.  In the meantime, the parties need to continue living their lives.

In Minnesota, a divorce court can enter a “temporary order” that is in effect until the divorce is concluded.  A temporary order can award temporary custody, temporary parenting time, temporary child support, temporary occupancy of the home, temporary spousal maintenance and it can contain other provisions. 

Generally, as soon as the divorce has been started, a spouse can bring a motion for temporary relief.  In some Minnesota counties, the motion can be heard within a few weeks.  In other counties, it takes longer because of the backlog of cases.

My opinion is that a hearing for temporary relief is very important and should be taken very seriously.  I believe that often the temporary order can have a precedential impact upon subsequent proceedings.  It can signal to the other side what they are likely to achieve if the case goes to trial and make them re-consider whether it is worth the financial and emotional cost.  A temporary order can influence other professionals who may be working on the case.  And, in my opinion, a temporary order can have an impact on how a judge views the case as it goes to trial.  (Keep in mind that in most counties, more than one judge can be involved in the same divorce case.)

For all of these reasons, an order for temporary relief is important.

Daniel Fiskum is a Minnesota divorce attorney who has been practicing since 1992. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has been named a "Super Lawyer" by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Fiskum is currently writing a book for attorneys and non-attorneys entitled "The Streetfighter's Guide to Divorce," which is scheduled for publication in May, 2010. Many of his blog entries will appear in the book. You may contact attorney Fiskum directly at (952) 270-7700. His office is located in the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The Fiskum Law website is found at www.fiskumlaw.com.

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