How to File a Motion for a Divorce Hearing
By Jennifer Williams
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A motion for a divorce hearing is usually asking for an order granting one of the parties temporary relief while the spouses are hashing out the ultimate terms of the divorce. Usually such motions in divorce cases are filed with the initial petition for divorce or shortly thereafter so that child care and financial obligations are met for the duration of the divorce case.
Decide what you want or need while the divorce is pending. Consider temporary spousal support, residential custody and child support, and visitation. Remember that any of these things that are provided for in a temporary order may be dealt with differently in the final divorce decree. The temporary order is a temporary arrangement just to tide you over until these issues are decided by the court.
Ask your court clerk, or check the circuit court's website, for any forms the circuit court has that are tailored to your needs if you are proceeding without an attorney. Follow your circuit court's required format for motions. Generally, the court's circuit and county are typed at the top of the page. Beneath the court title at the top left of the page, type your name as the petitioner -- meaning the spouse filing for divorce -- followed by the name of your spouse as respondent. At the top right of the page, type the case number and court division assigned by the clerk.
State in plain language the relief you seek in the body of your motion. If asking for spousal or child support, state how much you need per month. If asking for a court-ordered visitation schedule, tell the court what arrangements you want. Include anything you want your spouse prevented from changing, such as preventing your spouse from removing you or the children from any insurance policies. Sign the motion and have it notarized.
Attach any documents you have as proof of your need. Include any mortgage statements, electric and water bills, automobile payment receipts, food receipts, invoices, receipts for school related expenses and bills, or receipts for the children's extracurricular activities. Be sure to include documentation of any extraordinary care needed by you or the children.
Fill out a certificate of service stating that a copy of the motion was delivered to the other spouse, and note the date it was delivered. Sign and date the certificate and attach it to the motion. File the motion, attachments and certificate of service with the clerk, and mail or hand-deliver the service copies to your spouse.
Contact the court for a hearing date after your spouse files an answer to your motion. Usually the response deadline is 20 days. After 20 days, if your spouse does not file an answer, you may ask the judge to rule in your favor by default. If your spouse files an answer, contact the court for a hearing date. At the hearing, be prepared to defend your requested amount of spousal and child support, and your requested residential custody choice and visitation schedule.
An attorney for more than 18 years, Jennifer Williams has served the Florida Judiciary as supervising attorney for research and drafting, and as appointed special master. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Jacksonville University, law degree from NSU's Shepard-Broad Law Center and certificates in environmental law and Native American rights from Tulsa University Law.