If you are involved in a divorce or legal separation or paternity case, it is very important to treat the initial or temporary hearing as a significant determinator of custody, placement, child support, maintenance and which spouse remains in the house. What constitutes “temporary” is often open to determination. Temporary hearings are generally held before a family court commissioner or magistrate, rather than the judge. However, the temporary orders entered at the initial hearing often set the stage for the rest of the case. These orders are often given impact and effect throughout the divorce action. It is important to get sufficient information prior to the temporary hearing, so you and your attorney can make well thought out and reasoned decisions regarding custody and placement, property division, including debt allocation, and which party will vacate the residence, if either. Don’t be too anxious to set up maintenance and child support immediately. The lag time in processing orders is often a couple of weeks or a month. Direct payments may be a viable option. The bottom line is that the divorce temporary hearing sets the stage for what is to be determined in the future. Be prepared. Hire an experienced attorney. Collect your information before the temporary hearing, so you are not surprised by the outcome.