Once initial papers are filed in a family case, I am often asked by my clients, “What’s the next step?”
Usually, after the initial paperwork is filed, the Court will enter temporary orders that keep the status quo and answer questions like:
* who will live in the house?
* who will pay what bills?
* will one spouse receive temporary spousal support from the other?
* where will the children live?
* what rights will the parents have regarding children while the divorce is pending?
*how much child support will be paid
*what visitation will the parents have?
Sometimes, the parties will attend mediation before a hearing in court on temporary orders. Mediation is a private effort, away from the courthouse, for all parties to get together and try to see what items, if any, can be agreed to. There is structure to mediation in the sense that there is a third party, a mediator, who goes back and forth between the parties to help facilitate discussion.
If an agreement is reached, the temporary orders are drawn up and entered. If no agreement is reached, then the parties will have a “mini-trial” at the courthouse.