What Other Tips Should I Know About Temporary Orders Hearings?

Can Issues Not Set Forth In A Motion Be Discussed At A Temporary Orders Hearing?

There is a change in the law that allows a party responding to the temporary orders motion to orally state their case without filing a response to your motion, but typically, the answer is no. If a party has not filed a written motion, they cannot ask for new relief. However, they can surprise you with their response to YOUR motion orally, without you having an opportunity to hear it or read it in advance. At least that is the case before court commissioners.

Rule 101 of the Utah rules of civil procedure governs hearings before court commissioners. The rule was changed when the rules committee received pressure from the advocates of a pro se litigants (parties who represent themselves without attorneys). Many attorneys, and court commissioners disagree with that rule, because it results in “trial by ambush” with one side having to reply to an oral statement on the fly without having time to prepare, but that is the way it is for now.

That said, unless a written motion has been filed specifically requesting particular relief, generally they will only be allowed to RESPOND orally to the party who actually filed a written motion.

So sum up, absent the agreement of the parties, neither party can request relief from the court without having filed a motion and setting forth a basis for their request. However, a party responding to that motion under the current version of Rule 101, if your hearing is before a commissioner, is allowed to respond orally defending against the other side’s motion without filing a response or an affidavit.

Can I File Another Motion If I have More Than One Issue To Address or Other Issues Arise Down The Line?

If you have more than one issue to address, that needs to be addressed in your motion for temporary orders. Unfortunately, you are still limited to the twenty-five page limit. If after the temporary orders’ hearing, a new issue arises that requires additional temporary orders, you can file another motion to have that issue raised through the same process. However, if the case has been pending for a long time, over nine months or so, and you file another motion for temporary orders the court may be less inclined to grant you relief, and instead push the case to trial as quickly as it can.

How Soon Does The Decision Take Effect Once The Temporary Order Is Granted?

Decisions take effect immediately once a temporary order is granted. A commissioner or judge ruling even if it is orally from the bench, and not yet reduced to writing, is immediately enforceable or binding. However, the court will delegate to one party or the other, usually the prevailing party, the task of drafting a proposed order that memorializes the court’s final ruling. The attorney assigned to draft the order has to make the order consistent with the judge’s ruling even if there is something in the order that the attorney’s party does not like. Once the order is drafted, the attorney drafting the order circulates it to the other side, who then has seven days to file an objection if he or she thinks that the order is not consistent with the judge’s ruling. If they file an objection, the court will generally set a hearing to resolve the language of the written order. All of that said, an order is binding immediately just as soon as the ruling is made from the bench.

How Long Do The Temporary Orders Last?

Unless the court specifically sets an expiration date on those orders, they last until further order of the court.

Do Temporary Orders Always Become Permanent Orders?

No. There is no rule or law that allows the judge to automatically make temporary orders permanent. However, although there is no formal requirement or presumption that those orders become permanent, often there is informal pressure for temporary orders to become permanent. For example, if one party has unreasonable expectations about their likelihood of success on a particular issue, and they lose the issue at the temporary orders’ hearing, their expectation has been reduced and they are more often willing to settle than what occurred at the temporary stage. Another reason why temporary orders often become the status quo permanently is that one party or both parties choose to settle along the lines of the temporary orders.

Often people just need somebody else, a commissioner or a judge, to take a look at their case and give them resolution as a neutral third party. If a commissioner or a judge tells somebody what they think, even on a temporary basis, sometimes a party will just concede the point after hearing from a judge or a commissioner, even though they would not have conceded the point to the opposing side before the temporary orders were issued. Also, a party’s ability to continue litigating may impact whether temporary orders become permanent.

For more information on Issues In Temporary Orders Hearing, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 616-3301 today.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children