Before the TRO expires, a judge will schedule a temporary orders hearing to determine if the TRO needs to be made permanent while the divorce goes forward. The temporary orders hearing will usually happen within two to four weeks after the divorce is filed.
Often temporary orders are arrived at by agreement of the parties through negotiations. Occasionally, the agreements may be handled informally, without the entry of court orders. This usually only works when the parties are very agreeable.
If there is no agreement, the court will approach the temporary orders hearing like a miniature trial, allowing the attorney and parties to call witnesses, present evidence, and prove their case for what should happen while the divorce is pending. The judge will make provisions for temporary spousal support, temporary custody and possession arrangements, temporarychild support, temporary use of property and payment of debts, and payment of interim attorney's fees, if applicable. These are the orders that will govern your daily life until the divorce is finalized.
Some counties use Associate Judges to handle temporary orders hearings. The Associate Judge is appointed by the elected District Judge to sit in matters assigned to her. Following a contested temporary orders hearing held in front of an Associate Judge, a party dissatisfied with the outcome has a very limited time to appeal the ruling.
Excerpted from my book, "Basics of Texas Divorce Law"