What are the first steps after separation?
If you and your spouse are separating, you may need to resolve some urgent issues before you can finalize your divorce. For example, you may need to decide who will live in the family home, how to divide your property and debts, how to arrange custody and access for your children, and how much child or spousal support to pay or receive. These terms are often written in formal separation agreements which are presented to the courts and become legally binding. However, these issues can take time to negotiate or litigate. You may need a temporary solution to protect your rights and interests, or those of your children, until a final order is made.
This is where a notice of motion for interim relief, also called an interim motion, can help. A “notice of motion” is a document that asks the court to make a temporary order on one or more issues related to your separation. “Interim relief” means that the order will only last until the court makes a final decision on your case, or until you and your spouse agree on a settlement. For example, a motion for interim relief can ask for interim decision-making responsibility, parenting time, child support, spousal support, or exclusive occupation of the residence. A motion for interim relief is different from a motion for summary judgment, which asks for a final resolution of the case without a trial. A motion for interim relief is also different from an urgent motion, which asks for immediate relief in an emergency situation.
When is a notice of motion for interim relief used?
A notice of motion for interim relief can be filed at any time after you start a divorce proceeding, or even before if you have an urgent situation that cannot wait. You will need to explain to the court why you need the interim order, what evidence supports your request, and what the consequences will be if the order is not granted. You will also need to serve a copy of the notice of motion and any supporting documents to your former spouse, who will have an opportunity to respond and oppose your request.
An example of an urgent situation could include parenting arrangements. Perhaps one parent poses physical or emotional danger to the child and waiting for a final separation agreement or divorce leaves the child at risk. If a parent is trying to take the child(ren) out of the city in which the family has resided, without the other parents consent, this could also be considered an urgent situation.
What happens when the application for notice for interim relief is submitted?
The court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present their arguments and evidence. On a motion for interim relief, the judge will consider the evidence and arguments of both parties and decide whether to grant or deny the motion. The judge will also consider the best interests of any children involved, the financial circumstances of both parties, and any undue hardship or urgency that may exist. The judge may make an order that is effective until the final resolution of the case or until another order is made. The order may be varied or set aside by another judge if there is a material change in circumstances or new evidence that was not available at the time of the motion.
How do I know if an interim relief order is necessary?
Brookshire Law Office can help you decide if you need to take immediate legal action after a separation. Our family lawyer can advise you on whether an interim motion suits your situation or if another path would be advisable.
The above is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice — contact a lawyer to discuss your personal circumstances and learn your options.
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