Temporary Orders: Temporary Relief or Temporary Problems?

In contested Family Law cases of any type (Dissolution, Legal Separation, Parentage, Committed Intimate Relationships, Parenting Plan or Child Support Modification) parties often go to court for Temporary Orders. The Temporary Orders govern the parties rights, duties and responsibilities before it is finalized as the case is pending. Temporary orders can address a wide range of temporary relief, such as Restraining Orders, Parenting Plans, Spousal and Child Support, who pays what bills, who can use what items of property (such as vehicles, or occupancy of a family home), and more. Typically, Temporary Orders last in duration until another order is entered; most commonly that is when the final orders are presented to conclude a case.

So what does a party do, if they disagree with the terms of a Temporary Order? Generally speaking there are 3 options: Motion for Reconsideration, Motion for Revision and a Motion for Modification of the Temporary Order.

Motions for Reconsideration of Temporary Orders

These types of motions are authorized under Civil Rule 59 and provide for a party to seek relief under several specific factors. Some of those factors are as follows: accident or surprise, newly discovered evidence, error in law, misconduct or simply that substantial justice had not been done. A Motion for Reconsideration must be brought within 10 days of entry the Temporary Order. Also, a Motion for Reconsideration will be decided by the same judicial officer who entered the Temporary Order. Some Washington State Superior Courts have specific local court rules on the procedure involved for a Reconsideration Motion, so it is best to consult with an attorney familiar with that county's process for a Reconsideration Motion.

Motions for Revision of Temporary Orders

These types of motions are authorized under RCW 2.24.050 and provide for a party to have a Judge revise what a Court Commissioner did in entering the Temporary Order. In several counties, Court Commissioners decide many Family Law issues. If one believes that the Court Commissioner made a mistake in the entry of the Temporary Order, a Motion for Revision to have the matter decided by a Superior Court Judge may be appropriate. A key distinction between Motions for Revision from that of Reconsideration is that a Motion for Revision is brought before the Superior Court Judge on the same evidence that was before the Court Commissioner. In other words, no new evidence can be filed to support a Motion for Revision. Similar to Reconsideration, a Motion for Revision must be brought within 10 days of entry of the Temporary Order. Also, as with Reconsideration, some Washington State Superior Courts have specific local rules on the procedure involved for a Motion for Revision. As such, it is again probably helpful to consult with an attorney familiar with that county's process for a Revision Motion.

Motions for Modification of Temporary Orders

These types of motions are brought when there has been a significant change in circumstances of the parties since the time that the Temporary Order was entered. Some examples might be that the primarily residential parent gets a DUI with children in the car, or a person paying support through no fault of their own, lost their job, etc. As with the above motions, consultation with an attorney is very important.

Family law litigation can be emotionally difficult and complex. Decisions made about each step of the litigation can affect you for many years. We have years of experience helping our clients with their divorce and can help you through the process. Contact us today at (253) 838 – 3377 or email at office@bainslawfirm.com, to talk about your situation.

Disclaimer: All materials provided on this website have been prepared by Bains Law Firm for general information purposes only and no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. Information on this website is not intended as legal advice, and may not be relied upon as such. Only an attorney who can review the unique facts of each case and apply them to the statutes, case law and court rules can provide legal advice. Nothing in this website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. 

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