Often in divorces, the parties are not on an equal playing field to start. When there are children involved, one party is usually the primary caretaker and is footing the bill for caring for the children without the help of the parent that may have moved out of the home. Or there may be a situation where one party was the breadwinner and supported the other spouse, and now isn’t providing the support that the spouse needs to survive. Another situation is where one party does not have the resources to pay for an attorney, which is necessary to continue in the divorce proceedings.

Temporary Relief Hearings

When situations like this arise, generally there is a hearing for temporary relief early on in the case. Temporary relief allows the parties to go to court and ask for support prior to the final resolution of the case. This allows the party in the lower financial position to be on a level playing field and not feel desperate to settle and reach a final resolution which may be detrimental to their overall position.

Another purpose of temporary relief hearings is if the parties are not able to come to an agreement on how parenting time and custody should be, but are not ready to finalize all of the details of the divorce. The judge is able to listen to both parties’ positions and make a decision that will give the children the most stability they can have while the parents are going through the remainder of the divorce process.


While temporary relief hearings are a useful tool to have in many situations, not all judges like to hear them. It may be more beneficial if the parties are able to cooperate at all to attend mediation and see if they can resolve the disputes outside of court. This gives the parties some power in shaping their future, and it is generally less contentious; with temporary relief hearings, both parties submit materials to the court that are often hurtful to the other party. The affidavits that each party write generally contain information that does not need to be said if the mediation process is used.