Temporary Child Custody

temporary child custody

One of the first steps a court takes following the commencement of divorce proceedings is to issue what are known as temporary orders. Included in the temporary orders issued at the start of a divorce case is an order addressing the matter of child custody. A temporary child custody order designates which parent will have primary custody during the pendency of the divorce proceedings themselves.

Motion for Temporary Custody

The process of establishing temporary custody of a minor child during divorce proceedings begins with the preparation and filing of a motion for temporary custody. Typically, an attorney is hired to prepare this motion, along with the other documents that are filed at the start of divorce proceedings.

Some individuals do proceed with divorce cases without legal representation. In such instances, most courts in the United States maintain standard forms for divorce cases, including templates for a motion for temporary custody.

Standard for Determining Temporary Child Custody

Although custody laws are established on a state-by-state basis, they are fairly uniform across the U.S. The standard employed in determining which parent should have temporary custody during the pendency of a divorce case is based on the best interests of the child.

In determining what is in the best interests of the child, a court will examine which parent historically provided primary care for the minor. The court also considers the living environments of each parent. The physical and mental health of the child and both parents are taken into account as part of determining the most appropriate custodial arrangement.

Temporary Parenting Time

In addition to establishing temporary custody, the court will also establish a temporary parenting time schedule to be followed while the divorce case pends. The court strives for a schedule that provides the noncustodial parent with reasonable and regular contact with the minor child.

Temporary Versus Permanent Custody

The court's order of temporary custody, and associated parenting time, does not necessarily translate into a more permanent arrangement following the conclusion of the divorce proceedings. With that said, the general parameters of a temporary custody order oftentimes indicate the form the final decree will take in regard to these issues associated with a minor child.

Both parties to a divorce have the opportunity to file a motion for temporary custody. The law in all states maintains that both parents have the right to seek primary custody of a minor child during divorce proceedings, with neither party gaining an advantage because of gender.