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What is temporary orders mediation and why is it important?

All the pressure to negotiate for temporary orders is not placed on your shoulders. Rather, mediation is a common and beneficial requirement among family court judges. In mediation, the parties and their attorneys meet with an experienced third-party mediator to discuss the issues of the case. Each party attends an in-person mediation session in different rooms at the mediator’s office. Thereafter, the mediator acts as a “ping pong” ball bouncing back and forth between each of you. Communicating settlement offers,  playing devil’s advocate, and generally assisting in the negotiating process.

Of course, one of the true benefits of mediation is that it places you and your opposing party in a situation where you are focusing on your case. It is difficult to block out all the distractions and events of the world to focus on your case. However, in mediation that is exactly what you can do. For a half or full day, mediation occurs where you put aside your differences and try earnestly to arrive at a fair settlement. 

Any settled issues in your case are written in a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). Settle all the issues of your case and the MSA is drafted into temporary orders. A temporary order hearing is not necessary at that point. However, preparing for temporary orders mediation must come first. In other words, we do not want to put the cart before the horse in mediation. Here is how preparation for mediation works with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Preparing for temporary orders mediation

Temporary order mediation is a crucial stage of your case. What ends up in your temporary orders is very likely to end up in final orders. The mistake many people make is assuming that the temporary orders are only “temporary.” This is not true. It is often difficult to negotiate your way through changes in temporary orders. The bottom line is that it is best to work hard in temporary orders rather than breeze through this stage. 

Preparing for temporary orders means taking seriously the important issues of your case. In a divorce that means setting up a plan for paying bills. This includes the home mortgage. Answering the question of which spouse is going to stay in the home also matters a great deal. Start thinking about and negotiating on these topics well in advance of mediation. Division of financial assets like retirement and investment accounts does not come up in temporary orders mediation. 

For child custody cases you should lay the foundation for a parenting plan. Assessing the best interests of a child is challenging. Understanding which parent, you, or your co-parent, should shoulder the burden of primary conservatorship is important. When parents cannot agree on this subject you are likely to find yourselves in court. A temporary orders hearing is not a necessity when parties plan for temporary orders mediation. However, a lack of planning on important subjects places you in a position where a hearing is more likely. 

Attending a temporary orders hearing 

Despite mediation presenting itself as a viable alternative, some parties must attend a temporary orders hearing. In short, the issues in your case may be such that a settlement is not possible. Because of this, you and your attorney immediately switch gears and prepare for a hearing. Do not let the name “temporary orders hearing” fool you. A temporary orders sharing is a mini-trial. Evidence is admitted into the record. Attorneys take witness testimony. Spending time with your attorney is crucial. 

After a temporary orders hearing a judge issues their rulings. These rulings form the basis for your temporary orders. An attorney drafts orders based on the judge’s rulings. Once signed by all parties and the judge they are binding. Assuming that the orders were drafted well they become enforceable. This means that if you or your opposing party violate those orders there are consequences.

To summarize, a temporary orders hearing is a mini-trial. Preparing for a temporary orders hearing is a full-time job. The better your preparation the less likely you are to need to attend a hearing. This saves you both time and money. Thereafter, all parties to your case are bound to follow those temporary orders. 

What happens after a temporary orders hearing?

After the temporary orders hearing you and your opposing party begin living under the terms of the orders. For some people, this is an adjustment. Being told where you can and cannot go is a change. Having a court order determine when and where you can see your children is also a change. However, when you open yourself up to the jurisdiction of a family court this becomes commonplace.

Overall, temporary orders should be treated as a point in your case of great importance. It is not necessarily true that a modification of your temporary order is possible. Likewise, altering those orders in a trial or final orders mediation is not a given. Meaning, that what you come up with temporary orders tends to be what is set for final orders. This places even more of an emphasis on preparation and intentionality in the temporary orders phase. The better your plan for temporary orders the better off you and your children are,

You and your opposing party’s negotiations matter a great deal. Courts come into play only when parties cannot agree amongst themselves. The better the two of you are at setting aside your differences the better the negotiations proceed. Having a plan and working to communicate well with your opposing party matters. Ultimately, nobody understands your case better than you and your opposing party.  Treating one another with respect and civility helps ensure your case settles and stays out of a courtroom.  

Living under temporary orders

Life changes after a family law case, it is no longer your decision-making that only needs consideration. Rather, the court orders created in temporary orders matter. This means reviewing these orders frequently. Understanding your responsibilities matters. Many arguments are avoided when parties understand their obligations under court orders. Some problems arise when you and your opposing party misinterpret court orders. As a result, moving forward with a plan means being on the same page.

Helping your children to understand the court orders matters, as well. As much of a shock to your system as you are undergoing, the same is true for your children. They know even less about the process than you do. Additionally, children lack life experience and cannot process change as well as you. With that said, your children look to you for guidance on these subjects. The better you prepare your children the better their lives are during this time. 

What are the important points of emphasis during temporary orders Let’s spend some time walking through those right now. Understanding what areas trip other people up helps you to avoid falling. For this and many other reasons, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan helps clients during their cases. We are intentional in negotiations but also have the heart of a teacher during your case. Our goal is to help you negotiate a strong set of temporary orders. From there we take the time to help guide you during this next phase of your case.

Points of emphasis during temporary orders

Start with your household essentials. Pay attention to how your household bills and responsibilities are divided up. These are things that do not take a break just because you are going through a divorce. Much of the time you have additional bills added to your life during a case. For instance, moving out of your home means establishing new bills for a new place to live. On top of that, there are the bills to your old home which are still ongoing. Moving out does not mean forgetting those responsibilities. 

You and your spouse have an opportunity to negotiate how these bills are divided in a divorce. The two of you get to determine how these bills are divided until you show an inability to do so. However, nobody knows your case as well as you do. Even if you and your spouse cannot agree on much of anything now that does not mean you cannot be fair in negotiations. 

Disruptions to either of your living arrangements mean trouble during the temporary orders phase of a divorce. For example, consider the consequences if you don’t pay the mortgage for two months. Both of you just forgot to do it. Or even worse, you misread your orders and thought it was the other person’s responsibility. All the struggles of your case are magnified when there is uncertainty in living arrangements. 

Adjusting to custody orders means being communicative

One of the great ironies of a family law case is that it is easy to feel like you and your co-parent are going your separate ways. This is common in a family law setting. However, the reality of the situation is that you two are going to need to work together now more than ever. This is because co-parenting is a challenge unlike any you have encountered. If you thought that working together with your co-parent was hard in the same home, you haven’t seen anything yet. 

It’s not that your life or that of your child’s changes dramatically after a temporary orders hearing. Rather, communication becomes more important during this phase of a case. For all the struggles you encounter in a family law case, communication is a surefire way to avoid the worst outcomes. However, communication with your co-parent may be at an all-time low point right now. 

To improve your communication skills means setting aside your differences and your pride. We know that you and your co-parent are not getting along now. Nobody suffers more because of this reality than your children do. They are the ones who need Mom and Dad to work together. When you two aren’t willing to go the extra mile, it makes life difficult for your children. Look at the areas of your child’s life that need the most attention. Spend as much time as you can with your children.

Temporary orders and visitation 

Having temporary orders means focusing on the logistics of visitation and possession. Depending upon your circumstances, picking up and dropping off the kids is a challenge. It requires both you and your co-parent to be accountable to one another. This means having the children ready at the appropriate times for pickup. This is true even when the children do not want to go for a period of possession with your co-parent. The responsibility falls on your shoulders to get the kids ready to go at the appropriate time in the temporary orders.

On the other hand, as the parent with visitation rights to the children, your responsibility is to return the children on time. Remember that your co-parent has scheduled to keep it, as well. As a result, do not treat your schedule as being any more important than the other parent. When you experience problems with picking up and dropping off the children that should be communicated to your other parent quickly.

When discussing temporary orders, it is oftentimes a challenge to be able to understand what you need to do initially. The entire process is new for you and your co-parent. In a lot of cases, these challenges are best addressed by setting aside your differences. It is not always easy to do this. However, as a parent, you are obligated to look out for the best interests of your children. The better you can do this the more likely your child will have a successful transition.

Modifying temporary orders

the experience of most people during the temporary orders phase of a family law case is that there are only a few months between temporary orders and final orders mediation. During this time. Parties such as yourself are adjusting to life under court orders. Before you know it is time to prepare for final orders mediation.

However, it is possible that your life or that of your child can change dramatically during this short period. In which case changing or modifying the temporary orders should be considered. Working with an experienced family law attorney to modify court orders provides you with an opportunity to set yourself and your family up for success. Identifying potential changes in court orders is important as you adjust to your wife during a family law case.

A material and substantial change in circumstances must be identified to justify a modification. If the modification requested relates to your children’s additional considerations are made. Specifically, the best interest of your child must be maintained during the proposed modification. There are many moving pieces when it comes to modifying temporary orders. 

Final thoughts on temporary orders 

Do not overlook the temporary orders phase of your family law case. The better prepared you are for temporary orders the more likely you are to be satisfied with your case overall. Establishing court orders means taking the time to think through the issues that are most critical to your family. Waiting until the last minute to work through these issues and problems is not a wise idea. The earlier you can start to plan for temporary orders the better.

What ends up in temporary orders tends to end up in final orders. This is something that cannot be emphasized enough. Treating temporary orders as being only “temporary” here is a recipe for bad outcomes. Having a plan and being intentional as you are working through temporary orders tends to arrive at the best results. The assistance of an attorney during a case like this cannot be understated.  

Having the assistance of an experienced family law attorney helps

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here for you throughout the stages of a family law case. We emphasize your case at all levels- not just the beginning or the end. Temporary orders can be overlooked by some attorney’s offices who only care to get you in the door. We do not take you for granted as a client. Rather, once you commit to our office, we lock arms with you and go through your case with an eye toward detail. The temporary orders achieved in your case shape the remaining weeks and months of your case. Additionally, they also shape your post-family law case life, for better or worse.

Interested in learning more about how the Law Office of Bryan Fagan serves our clients? Contact us today for a free of charge consultation. We offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. Our goal is to present information clearly and concisely here on our website. Any questions you have about this material can be addressed to one of our experienced family law attorneys. 

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan posts unique and informative content here on our blog every day of the week. When you have questions about our particular family law topic, our blog is a source of honest and reflective information that can assist you and your family. Whether you are beginning of family law case or are in the middle of one we are here to help you.