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Temporary custody orders

While a divorce case is pending in Massachusetts, a judge may issue temporary child custody orders. These orders last only until the final divorce and custody hearing, at which time the judge will hear evidence and issue the permanent custody orders that will govern the child's residence, visitation and the parents' responsibility for decision-making.

In order for a parent to obtain a temporary child custody order, he or she most often will need to move for temporary orders and give notice to the other parent. This allows the other parent adequate time to respond to the motion and to prepare for the hearing. A temporary custody order often also involves a child support order that reflects the amount of time the child will spend with each parent during the divorce proceedings.

Courts may order temporary child custody to one parent alone without any prior notice in an emergency situation. Such a situation can include those involving domestic violence or abuse. When an emergency order is issued, the order will only last a maximum of five days. The other parent will then be notified by the court of the order, the reasons for granting the emergency temporary order and a notice of a hearing on it as well as the fact the temporary order will be continued until the hearing date.

Divorce cases can sometimes last months or even years. It is often important to both parents to have a temporary child custody order in place while the case is pending. Such temporary orders can be arrived at by agreement in some cases, and they can allow parents to ensure both are able to see their children. In emergency situations, the availability of an emergency order can be very helpful to people when they and their children need protection from the other parent.

Source: Massachusets Laws, "CHAPTER 208 DIVORCE Section 28A Temporary care; custody and maintenance of minor children", December 02, 2014

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