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Temporary Support Orders

Support orders, if any, are entered at two different times in your case: temporary orders initially and permanent orders at the end of your case. “Temporary” support orders are entered as quickly as possible after separation to ensure that the family is adequately cared for while all the facts are gathered and legal positions developed pending the “permanent” support order to be issued at trial or by court-ordered settlement.

Temporary support payments are nearly always ordered in the amounts set forth in support schedules based on income. Courts use federally mandated child support schedules based on approved formulas to determine the amount of child support to be awarded. Temporary child support orders are modifiable, although the cost involved in going to court (again!) for another temporary order on anything less than a startling development is rarely warranted. By the time you would get to court for a second hearing on temporary support, you could be there for trial in many court systems.

Temporary spousal support orders are typically set directly from schedules, also, or perhaps within certain guidelines as a matter again of judicial economy. The certainty of the result encourages spouses to agree on temporary orders, and the practical limitations on the evidence available at a hearing, in most instances the income figures on which the schedule is based, shortens the time actually spent in court and in calculating the amount.

Even for these expedited temporary support orders, facts are always the basis for a valid court order. Document your income and your spouse’s income, both actual, and what your spouse could be earning if you have facts to show that he or she should be earning more. Be prepared to demonstrate in what way your assets and liabilities affect the needs and abilities to pay. You may be allowed to offer additional evidence not considered in a schedule based, usually, on short-term income and expense estimates.