Temporary & Final Hearings

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            The law requires a waiting period of at least 120 days before your divorce can be finalized.  In the meantime, issues of custody, support, property division and maintenance while the action is pending can be addressed in a "temporary order hearing."  Temporary orders are issued by the Family Court Commissioner.  If the parties can agree on all or any of the issues, they should put their agreement in writing, signed by both parties, and file it with the Clerk of Courts.  If the Family Court Commissioner has no objection to the stipulation, a temporary order will be issued in accordance with the agreement.  If circumstances change while the case is pending, either spouse can request additional temporary order hearings.  Paperwork to request a temporary order hearing - or to record a stipulation for temporary orders - can be obtained under Family Law Forms or from the Clerk of Courts.  Temporary orders remain in effect only until the final hearing.

            At the end of the 120-day waiting period, your case will be scheduled for a "return date" with the Family Court Commissioner (FCC).  The FCC can finalize your divorce at the return date if you and your spouse agree the marriage is "irretrievably broken," and have fully completed a Marital Settlement Agreement.  Fill-in-the-blank Marital Settlement Agreement forms can be obtained under Family Law Forms or from the Clerk of Courts.

            If you and your spouse cannot agree on any of the issues in the Marital Settlement Agreement, your case will need to be set for further proceedings in front of the judge.  At your return date, the FCC will then schedule your case with the judge's office.

            At or after your final divorce hearing, you and your spouse (or your attorney if you have one) will need to complete and file the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment (also known as a divorce judgment).  You can obtain fill-in-the-blank FFCLJ forms under Family Law Forms or from the Clerk of Courts.