During the course of the case, there may be times when you need the Court to make a ruling on matters related to Dissolution of Marriage. This process allows a party to have Court orders entered for the parties to follow prior to the entry of the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
What issues can I seek Temporary Relief from the Court?
You can seek temporary relief on the following issues:
What is the process that I have to follow to get Temporary Relief?
The first thing you need to do is file a Motion for Temporary Relief specifying what relief you are seeking. Once the Motion is filed, in most counties, you will need to go to Temporary Mediation. Some judges require mediation to be completed before a hearing can be scheduled, but some do allow a temporary relief hearing to be scheduled, but the mediation must be completed before the hearing. This can be done either through the Court’s mediation service or with a private mediator. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then you can go proceed to the Temporary Relief Hearing.
What happens at the Temporary Relief Hearing?
The party that filed the Motion for Temporary Relief goes first and presents its testimony on the issues for which they are seeking relief. The other party gets to cross-examine any witnesses that are presented by the party that filed the Motion.
If both parties have filed a Motion for Temporary Relief, the second party to file will be able to present their testimony on the issues for which they are seeking relief. The other party will be able to cross-examine this party’s witnesses in the same way.
You will be presenting evidence to support your claims. If you are seeking temporary alimony or child support, you will be presenting Financial Affidavits.
Who hears the Temporary Relief Matter?
In some counties, there is a backlog due to the number of cases assigned to each Family Law Judge. You can file a Motion with the Court seeking a referral to the General Magistrate for a hearing on those specific issues.
What is a General Magistrate?
A General Magistrate is a judicial officer who hears matters that are referred to them by a Judge. The Magistrate has the same powers to hear testimony and make rulings, but in some circumstances, their rulings must be approved by the Judge that referred the matter to them.
What happens if the General Magistrate hears my Temporary Relief Matter?
The General Magistrate will hear all the testimony and receive evidence in the same manner as the Judge. At the end of the hearing, the Magistrate will make their ruling in the same way that a Judge would. The Magistrate’s ruling is called a ‘Report and Recommendation’ and is submitted to the Judge for their signature?
What if I disagree with the Report and Recommendation of the General Magistrate?
If you do not believe that the Magistrate made the proper legal ruling or felt that there was an error with the ruling, you have ten days from the filing of the Report and Recommendation to file Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the General Magistrate.
What happens if I file Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the General Magistrate?
If you timely file Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the General Magistrate, the matter will be heard by the Judge. The party that files the Report and Recommendation must get a transcript of the hearing from the General Magistrate and serve a copy on the Judge and opposing party. Then the matter is scheduled in front of the Judge where the parties make their legal arguments about the errors that you believe the General Magistrate made.
If there is a hearing before the Judge on Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation, will I be able to give any testimony?
The hearing before the Judge on Exceptions to the Report and Recommendation of the General Magistrate are solely on the legal issues surrounding the challenge. No new testimony is provided.
If my Temporary Relief Matter is heard by the Judge, what happens if I disagree with the Judge’s ruling.
A Temporary Order is considered a non-final order, so you need to consider the Rules of Appellate Procedure when filing a Motion for Rehearing because if you do not file an appeal within 30 days of the rendition of the order, you are prevented from seeking review from the appellate court.
What is rendition?
Rendition is the date that an Order is filed with the Clerk of Court. If an Order is a Final Order and a timely Motion to challenge the Order is filed, then the rendition date is the date that the Order on that Motion is entered.