Temporary Custody—Frequently Asked Questions

Deciding custody arrangements in effect during a divorce proceeding is difficult and complex.

Temporary child custody is one of the most serious and difficult issues with which the parties, attorneys, and judges must deal.

What is often difficult for the parties in contested custody situations to understand is that in a vast majority of cases temporary custody is decided in a very brief hearing on "motion day," and that judges rarely allow any witness testimony at those hearings. Under these circumstances attorneys are forced to rely on affidavits (signed, sworn statements), other written evidence, and oral argument based upon facts known to the attorney. For these reasons it is important for the client to be thorough in presenting facts to the attorney, and then to allow the attorney to exercise his or her professional judgment, based upon experience and knowledge of the system and the Judge, in deciding what facts to present to the Judge regarding temporary custody. It is equally important to be candid with one's attorney about facts the client knows will be argued by the other side and against the client.

While the Judge's decision on temporary custody is not final, it is certainly an important step in any custody proceeding. After temporary custody has been decided, contested custody cases are often referred by the Judge for a custody evaluation by the Friend of the Court. You can read more about the Child Custody Act, joint custody, and custody evaluations.

Continue to Temporary Support