Temporary Orders and Final Orders: Child Custody in Texas



There are various types of suits within the field of family law that utilize both temporary and final orders. The distinction between the two types of orders can be confusing or hard to understand. Whether you are in a divorce, a suit for modification, or any suit affecting the relationship between a child and parent, the distinction between temporary and final orders is vitally important.


Temporary orders, by and large, are exactly that, temporary. These types of orders are rendered in a temporary orders hearing. Typically, a temporary orders hearing will be your first introduction to the courtroom. Temporary orders hearings are generally conducted before any formal discovery has been served (aka before you have the other side's evidence) and before there has been much time to come to an agreement if an agreement is to occur.


The purpose of temporary orders is to immediately resolve glaring issues that you may face. Whether that is deciding who gets to stay in the marital home, who gets to keep the children the majority of the time, or what a person needs to do to enter the good graces of a judge. Temporary orders can be compared to a triage, where the urgency to decide immediate issues outweighs the necessity to have every piece of information available to both parties to conduct a final hearing.


Often enough, the temporary orders that result from such a proceeding will be disappointing to both spouses or parents. However, unfavorable results from a temporary orders hearing are not the end of the road. As stated above, temporary orders are temporary. Any and all issues that have been resolved by temporary orders are subject to change at a final hearing.


Unfavorable results from temporary orders hearings are common. Temporary orders are not suppose to produce perfect results for either party. They are intended to make the circumstances of the spouses or parents work until it is appropriate to decide what needs to be permanently established by the court going forward. It is not uncommon at all for both parties to be distressed by the results of a temporary order. If that occurs, try to stay positive, because the case isn’t over yet. While temporary orders do establish a precedent, you still have more bites at the apple to mediate for a different result or present your case to a different judge for further temporary orders or final orders.


Setting a hearing for final orders takes time. There are statutorily required events and procedures that need to occur before the court is willing to decide on final orders. That could be mediation, discovery, resolution of property disputes, waiting for a child to be of a certain age, or anything that the court or parties decide is necessary to have resolved prior to a final trial. In a divorce in Texas, the court will not even entertain a hearing for final orders until 60 days have passed since the filing of the suit.


Final orders are much different than temporary orders. As the name suggests, they are final. Your case is resolved, and no matters are pending with the court at that time. Your opportunity to argue that the rendered orders are inappropriate or insufficient has passed. A final trial is the full blown hearing you have likely seen on TV. All the witnesses are there, all the evidence is ready to go, and, if you have chosen to have a jury, they will also be present. A final trial is the end all be all of your case.


That does not mean you are left without options if a final hearing doesn’t go your way. However, that specific suit is now over. Future issues that may arise must be addressed separately. The law provides multiple paths towards amending a final order. Whether that be through appeal, modification, clarification, or a subsequent agreement between the parties.


At the Law Office of Brandon Bledsoe, we regularly represent clients throughout the process of temporary and final orders in the Austin, Texas and surrounding Texas area. We practice in many counties including Travis County, Hays County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County and more. We are always prepared to help you navigate through these procedures and litigate the underlying issues on your behalf. If you are currently exposed to litigation involving these types of hearing, or expect to be soon, we provide free twenty-minute consultations to discuss your issues and options. Please email us at service@brandonbledsoelaw.com or call us at 512-944-3329 to set up a consultation. We’re here to help guide you through these complicated experiences.