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SC Family Court Temporary Hearings

        It is VERY important to be represented at the temporary hearing in a domestic case. Most Family Law cases in South Carolina will involve a 15 minute "Temporary Hearing". This hearing is to put an Order in place which will govern the rights and duties of the parties until a final Order is in place. If the case gets dismissed before it is made final, the "Temporary Order" is no longer effective.

       The temporary hearing is NOT the place to try the case.  These are VERY limited hearings to put some basic rules in place until the case is made final.  However, they are CRUCIAL hearings if child custody and visitation is disputed.  Usually, whoever gets primary custody at the temporary hearing keeps custody unless evidence later discovered proves it is in "the best interest of the child" to change custody.

       The other thing which is frustrating is that the judge is supposed to only consider affidavits submitted to the court and you are limited to 8 pages of affidavits. THis is why it is CRUCIAL to have an attorney. You will need to summarize ALL the issues in about 3-5 minutes.  Due to time constraints, it is almost impossible for a judge to fully read and consider all the affidavits and evidence. A good attorney can briefly give an overview of the relief sought and why it should be awarded. These hearings move VERY quickly. With emotions raw and not understanding the process, if you appear without an attorney, your head will be spinning trying to figure out what just happened!
       KEY FACTS ABOUT TEMPORARY HEARINGS:

  • Have a Financial Declaration

  • No more than 8 pages of affidavits

  • Often called a "band aid" hearing (just stops the bleeding but is only temporary)

  • Will appoint a Guardian ad Litem if custody or visitation is disputed

  • Fill out a "Parenting Plan" (SC Family Court Form)

  • Will detail custody and visitation schedule

  • Will prohibit disposing of "marital assets" (don't sell property or borrow from 401k or get new debts, etc.)

  • MAY award attorney fees (usually not, the issue of attorneys' fees is generally held for the final trial)

  • Puts a scheduling order in place

  • Puts other "restraining orders" in place

  • NOTE! Every case is different. These are usually questions of "equity" (questions of doing what is fair). There are some standard orders we use, but each case is different. You may have more issues or fewer issues to consider. This is NOT a comprehensive list and is provided for general educational reasons. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE! PLEASE HIRE AN ATTORNEY!