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"

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.