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When and How Should I Seek a Temporary Custody Order?

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When it comes to your kids’ care and support, you want them to be in good hands. Once you separate from your spouse and file for divorce, it is essential to have a child custody arrangement. But if both of you cannot agree on this issue amicably, you may have to seek temporary child custody orders.

Temporary child custody hearings offer you a legal way to petition the court over protecting the child’s best interests. Through these hearings, you will have a court order that defines each party’s custody rights as you wait on the full hearing involving custody.

What Are Temporary Custody Orders?

Divorce often takes time. But during this period, there’re always essential things that need temporary orders.

Temporary orders are orders specific to the parties that the judge will put in place while the divorce case is pending. These orders may include custody arrangements, parenting plans, spousal maintenance, child support, or primary residence as the case is pending.

If both of you can agree on these issues amicable, you only need to submit the agreements and the judge will then enter them as an order of the court. But this may not be possible and straightforward if you can’t agree with your soon to be ex.

Temporary child custody order often impacts the final or permanent custody arrangement. Therefore, you and your child custody attorney near you need to negotiate a custody schedule that you’re comfortable with. If you fail to reach an agreement with your spouse, consider fighting for more custody at this early stage.

What Reasons Make a Parent Seek Temporary Custody Orders?

temporary custody

A parent may offer temporary custody to another person for a number of reasons. They include:

Divorce and Separation

Parents will often agree to a custody arrangement as they wait for permanent orders.

Competing Responsibilities

A parent with an unusual work commitment or constant work-related travel may ask a partner, friend or family member to take care of the kids temporarily.

Lack of Financial Ability

temporary custody

It’s possible for a parent who can’t afford to care for his or her child to offer them to someone else through temporary guardianship.

Domestic Violence

The courts may order temporary custody arrangements to protect a child if the child is threatened with abuse.


A parent may grant temporary guardianship if he or she is in a hospital or incapacitated by an illness

What’s The Impact of Temporary Custody Orders?

In theory, it’s possible to have temporary custody orders significantly modified. However, this may not be the reality. In many cases, a temporary order will have a significant impact on the final custodial arrangement. You shouldn’t be pressured into an agreement you don’t like. Instead, get qualified counsel on your side to protect your rights and best interests.

What Is in A Temporary Child Custody Agreement?

A temporary child custody agreement should have:

  • A time period (start and end of the arrangement)
  • Details of where the child will be staying
  • Details concerning visitation rights of a parent
  • Financial arrangements

Who Can Ask for Temporary Child Custody?

Anyone can typically be a temporary custodian. However, it needs a person who will be able to provide consistent care and support. A temporal custodian must be an adult and should come from the extended family or be a step-parent of the child.

What’s The Difference Between Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders?

There’s a difference between temporary orders and temporary restraining orders. Temporary restraining orders could involve civil law issues or other protective orders like an Order of Protection.

What Is the Automatic Standing Order?

When legal action is filed, whether in divorce or modification of custody, a standing order will likely go into place. This standing order will restrict parties from doing a number of things—for instance, relocation with a child or children out of state.

This order may also restrict both parties from travelling outside the state with the child. Standing orders vary from state to state, and from county to county, and it’s therefore imperative to understand the requirements of your specific standing order.

How Do I Get Temporary Custody Orders?

The best way to get temporary orders is by agreeing with your spouse. It eliminates any litigation conflict and saves you money. Once the judge receives the orders, they become adopted and become official court orders.

In a divorce petition, you can request temporary custody of your child. Mostly, you can file any custody action in the county in which the defendant/spouse lives. Once this custody action is filed, any party can seek a temporary custody hearing to have custody rights. You will file a Motion for Temporary Orders, and the courts will give you a date to come and present your cases.

Sometimes temporary orders hearings are tough and need you to present your case within a short period. If you feel your temporary custody hearing is of significance to your divorce case, then you should engage a skilled family law attorney near you to guide you through the process.

What Are the Steps for Obtaining Temporary Custody Orders?

There are a number of steps involved in a temporary order. Your child custody lawyer can help you through.

Here are the general steps involved:

  • See if you can reach an agreement with your spouse. If you can agree, submit the documents to the court and request the adoption of the agreement.
  • File a Motion for Temporary Orders if you cannot reach an agreement, alongside appropriate support declaration
  • Assemble supporting evidence
  • Attend the hearings
  • The judge issues a ruling within 60 days

In cases where a third party is asking for temporary custody orders, the courts will decide based on the child’s health, safety, best interests, and educational needs as it awaits a final order.

What Are the Filing Fees?

You will be required to pay a fee of about $400 when filing. You can request a waiver if you don’t have the money. Ask for an “Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status” form from the Clerk of Court if you want to apply for this waiver.

How Long Will My Temporary Custody Order Last?

temporary custody

Temporary orders are short term. They are only meant to provide some guidance as the case proceeds. The final order will be issued when you settle the case or at trial.





Child custody matters are some of the most sensitive issues handled by our family courts. Sometimes you may even need an emergency child custody order in some situations like if the child is in danger. You may need to file a “motion for emergency hearing” in your county.

Note that third parties can request emergency custody or temporary guardianship if the parents cannot care for the child.

If you want to file for temporary custody, determine the requirements and laws in the county you will be filing. Furthermore, complete a proper parenting plan before going to court. This way, you’ll have a better chance of fighting for custody rights if you show the court you are prepared.

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Mike Mwangi

Most people will agree with me that divorce is a very difficult time. And for me, I’ve taken the path of helping people through this transition of life by giving them information that will make their lives a lot less stressful as they adjust. I work in a legal research role with Divorce Mistakes Network and have assisted leading law firms with research and delivering relevant content for those facing divorce. Whether lawyer, law firm, or other divorce-related professionals (mediators, financial advisors, accountants, therapists, counselors, etc) I help bridge the gap between legal minds and those affected by divorce. Let’s connect with ideas for content that helps everyone successfully conquer divorce.

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