After filing for divorce, you will most likely need to attend a court hearing within just a few weeks. This hearing is called a preliminary hearing, and it is a vital step in a divorce. If this is your first divorce, you probably have questions about the purpose of this hearing. Here are several important purposes of a preliminary hearing in your divorce case:
It Is Designed to Make Temporary Decisions
The main purpose of a preliminary divorce hearing is to make temporary decisions about the divorce. The decisions made during this hearing will offer direction to both spouses regarding their responsibilities and obligations.
One thing decided during this hearing will be the living arrangement. If you own a house, which spouse will stay living in the house until the divorce is finalized? If you want to remain in the house, you will need to tell your lawyer that this is your wish. If your spouse does not want to live there, this decision will be easy to make.
You will also need to make decisions about your bills. Who will be responsible for paying the mortgage? Who will pay the utilities and the credit card bills? Additionally, if you have children, you will need to decide where the kids will live and how you will share custody of them. The amount the non-custodial parent pays for child support is another thing decided at the preliminary hearing.
It Offers Court-Orders Instructions for Both Spouses
The second thing to understand about preliminary hearings is that the instructions the court decide upon are court-ordered. This means that both spouses must abide by the rulings of this court hearing. If you get to stay in the house, your spouse must willingly vacate it to abide by the instructions of the court.
The decisions made at this hearing are considered temporary because they will only stay in effect until the divorce is finalized. Once the court finalizes your divorce, the instructions may change. At this point, the final divorce decree will state the instructions that override any decided at the preliminary hearing.
Attending a court hearing can be intimidating for many people, but you will not be alone. Your divorce attorney will be there with you to help fight for the temporary instructions you are hoping for in your divorce case. If you have not yet hired an attorney, contact a law office like Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP.