If you’re going through an Arkansas divorce or child custody case, you may need to attend a temporary hearing. This is because the process to finalize a case can take a long time. There may be discovery and depositions and experts and spreadsheets and mediations, all of which make the process complicated and time-consuming. And that’s if no one deliberately tries to prolong the process!
In the meantime, however—before all that stuff gets done and there’s some final decision—there may be some issues that need immediate attention. Usually, the biggest issue at first is kids. Someone needs to make sure that they’re getting to school, eating regularly, taking baths, getting haircuts, etc. One parent may also get temporary child support at this time. When the judge makes a decision at the temporary hearing, he or she doesn’t have all the information. But a decision has to be made.
There may also be a need for a temporary hearing if one spouse is completely dependent on the other. If a husband is the sole breadwinner, for instance, and decides he’s going to leave his wife and immediately stops supporting her. Her lawyer may need to set a temporary hearing to ask a judge to force the husband to make the mortgage payment, water bill, etc.
The advantage of a temporary hearing is that it is short—usually thirty minutes. Because it’s short, a temporary hearing can be scheduled with the court within a few weeks. The first available date for a full hearing may be months down the road.
Temporary hearings usually favors the loudest party. They favor the party most willing to throw the other party under the bus.
Whatever happens at the temporary hearing sets a pattern for the rest of the case. The person who gets a more favorable custody arrangement now has time on his or her side—what lawyers will normally call the “status quo.” The parties have already had the chance to say hateful, possibly untrue things about each other. These things cannot be un-said or un-heard, and they make peaceful resolution far less likely.
Even if the case cannot ultimately settle, there are better ways to deal with temporary issues than a temporary hearing.