Other than filing and serving the petition, the divorce temporary hearing is usually the earliest event in a Georgia divorce timeline. Judges, or rather associate judges in most cases, conduct temporary hearings about two weeks after someone files a divorce petition. At these hearings, associate judges make important spousal support, child custody, child custody, and other decisions, usually with little or no information.
So, whether you are a divorce petitioner or a divorce respondent, assertive representation from a Lawrenceville family law attorney is essential at this hearing. If the temporary orders don’t uphold your legal and financial rights, there’s a good chance the final orders will not uphold these things either. In divorce proceedings, as well as in life in general, temporary arrangements often become permanent. Basically, there’s a presumption the temporary orders were reasonable. So, a spouse must produce overwhelming evidence to the contrary to reverse or even revise key provisions in the temporary order.
Frequently, the judge incorporates the current, informal arrangement into the temporary orders. That’s especially true if, as is often the case, the spouses have been separated for several months or even several years.
Normally, spouses are willing to accept this arrangement. However, a significant number of spouses file for divorce because the current informal arrangement has completely broken down or a new element, such as a new stepparent that has a criminal record, has come into play.
Parents who want to make substantial changes to the current timeshare arrangement need substantial evidence to convince the judge to make such changes. It is a sure bet the other spouse will not agree to them. Circumstantial evidence, like report cards that show a sudden and drastic academic decline, might be enough. However, direct evidence, like credible eyewitnesses who saw emotional fights or neglectfulness, is usually better.
A Lawrenceville family law attorney probably only gets one shot to make drastic parenting time changes. So, it must be done right. If you are on the other side, your lawyer must be ready for a blindside attack since neither party has conducted discovery at this point.
In terms of property division, temporary orders usually include freeze provisions. The orders usually forbid each spouse from spending money on anything other than regular living expenses and divorce-related expenses, like attorneys’ fees. That being said, these provisions are usually vague, so enforcement is difficult.
Additionally, these orders usually give each spouse exclusive possession of a vehicle and forbid either spouse from altering or terminating utility services.
Financial obligations include child support and spousal support. In almost all cases, the judge includes the guideline amount in the temporary orders. A judge may be willing to modify these temporary provisions later if the requesting spouse has sufficient evidence and the other spouse has a sufficient opportunity to respond.
Temporary spousal support almost never includes income redistribution support. Instead, most judges are only willing to grant minimally necessary support. That’s especially true if the spouse requesting support didn’t file the petition and therefore had no opportunity to make appropriate financial plans.
Minimally necessary support usually includes money for things like attorneys’ fees and half of the mortgage payments, utility payments, and other monthly bills.
Contact a Dedicated Gwinnett County Attorney
Things happen fast in a Georgia divorce. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Lawrenceville, contact Lankford & Moore Law.