Understanding what it is all about.
First, lets take a look at just what temporary relief means in reference to legal matters in Florida Family Law. As the words imply, temporary means an indefinite period of time and relief means to give help to improve a situation. In legal matters the terms indicate that the judge can order relief, often financial, for a proven need for the duration of the litigation starting from the date of the relief hearing and lasting until there is a final judgment order. There are a number of reasons a party might need temporary relief during handling of their case and they include during dissolution of marriage (divorce) proceedings, alimony, child support, timesharing (custody and visitation), relocation of a minor child, and attorney fees.
The hearing itself is before a judge and is usually limited to 30 minutes. Each side will have approximately 15 minutes to tell their “story” so it is vitally important to be thoroughly prepared with all evidence and testimony concisely ready for presentation. The judge needs to very quickly gain a clear understanding of what is needed and why. Sometimes an order is issued immediately following the hearing but it is more usual for the judge to consider the evidence and then make an order in a few days to several weeks. An order for temporary relief will be in writing, signed by the judge, and is to be followed by both parties until the final judgment is ordered. If situations should change during case proceedings, you can return to court for temporary relief modification.
In preparing for a temporary relief you and your attorney will need to make sure:
- There is a firm statement of what the party is asking for and why.
- There is basis evidence of need with proof to back it up.
- There is testimony, usually only time to hear from the client
- There is a very accurate financial affidavit including special circumstances. Examples could be estimates of projected costs, recent expensive repairs of the marital home due to a major storm, or job loss from employer going bankrupt and client not being able to find another job.
- There is a good idea of what the other party’s financial affidavit contains. Prior to the hearing you can go over this with your attorney and bring to his/her attention any major discrepancies you discover.
- There is an accounting if your monthly finances show a deficit how are you managing to pay bills? Do you have to borrow or use credit cards?
It is important to realize that if the other party is struggling as much or even more that you are, there is little likelihood relief can be ordered. If, however, it can be shown the other party is squandering assets, living a lifestyle above their means, or making unnecessary expensive purchases the judge will take this into consideration. Also, if it can be proven the financial affidavit of the other party intentionally left out assets or included false expenses or debts, the judge will rule accordingly. In the case of the relocation of a minor child, if information given in court proves to be untrue regarding the need for a temporary relocation order the immediate return of the child will be ordered. Additionally, this will have a definite affect on how the judge will finally rule regarding a permanent relocation order.
When needed, it is always wise to have a Family Law attorney experienced in helping clients obtain temporary relief. Attorney Grant Gisondo who practices Family Law in West Palm Beach and serves Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, and Hillsborough counties has over 10 years experience in these matters. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will meet with you personally to answer questions and explain how, if he handles your case, should there be a need for temporary relief he knows how to prepare and present your case to your best advantage. Call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment.