Divorce Summons Served With a Temporary Relief Petition

Types of Divorce

A divorce may be either uncontested or contested.  An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties have resolved all issues, including child support, custody, visitation, alimony, and division of assets and debts. A contested divorce, on the other hand, is one in which the parties have failed to resolve at least one of the issues. The unresolved issues in a contested divorce case are decided by a judge or a jury.

What Is A Temporary Relief Petition?

Because contested divorces take so long, it is not unusual for the divorce summons to be accompanied by a petition for temporary relief. Generally, the plaintiff’s complaint for divorce will ask the court to enter a temporary order that addresses any urgent issues, such as the following:

  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Possession and use of the marital home
  • Possession and use of vehicles
  • Responsibility for paying marital debts

If the plaintiff has not requested temporary relief, the defendant may request it in his or her answer. 

How Long Does A Temporary Order Remain In Effect?

Regardless of which party requests temporary relief, the court will hold a hearing. At the hearing, the parties are entitled to present evidence, after which the court will enter a temporary order. The parties are required to conduct themselves and abide by the temporary order until the court orders otherwise, the divorce is finalized, or the case is dismissed.

What Happens If One of the Parties Violates the Temporary Order?

If one of the parties violates the temporary order, the other party may file a Motion for Contempt or a Motion for Enforcement. If the court determines that the order has been willfully violated, the guilty party will be held in contempt. A finding of contempt may result in jail time or the imposition of monetary penalties, including the attorney’s fees for the other party.

What If There Is a History of Family Violence?

If there is a history of family violence or if there is an imminent threat of violence, the court may issue a temporary restraining order. A temporary restraining order typically forbids the named spouse from contacting or coming near the other spouse and may require the named spouse to move out of the martial home.

Getting Legal Help

If your divorce will be contested, you should hire a qualified divorce attorney to represent you.  A divorce attorney will review your case to determine the issues and advise you of possible outcomes. Your attorney will also file all the necessary paperwork, including a request for temporary relief, and represent you at all hearings until your divorce is finalized.

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